It was so awkward taking the subway. I shuffled along in the line of people, my eyes cast down to my feet. I watched as the discarded tickets and cigarettes were crushed under everyone feet. I could see him up ahead, in the same spot he always was. Every day he sat in the same spot and every day I did the same thing. It was sympathy I guess that made me do it. Sympathy, pity and a little awkwardness thrown in. I pulled my coat tighter around me and glanced up at the man. He looked normal enough from this angle but I knew what he looked like from the other side. I could see it in my mind, as I could every day, his mutilated leg, sticking out weird and looking slightly greenish.
I dug around in my pocket as I shuffled forwards, grabbing the dollar bill that I knew was in there. I never liked to look at the man too much, it felt so weird, like he would think I was judging him. I was so awkward around these people. As I shuffled past him he looked at me inquiringly, his hat held out. I looked down at my shoes, at the cigarettes and candy wrappers and dropped the dollar bill into his outstretched hat. He smiled and thanked me but I ignored it, as I always did. I shuffled along slowly, looking at the man’s jacket in front of me. The green lint reminded me of his leg and I cringed. I could always feel his eyes on me, judging me. Why was I so scared of a man in the subway, I thought, why did he freak me out so much? I always felt like I was better than him and then felt guilty for it. Maybe that was why I always gave him money. Maybe that was why I couldn’t look at him.