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Man of Straw

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

After my phone battery died, I left Champ de Mars and returned to the metro stop near the Eiffel Tower, where I saw that Syrian mother and her child begging on the sidewalk, across from the École Militaire, the day before. I wondered if they would be stationed there again. Indeed, in the same spot, with their backs against the scuffed-up, once white wall, there they were. Concurrently, on the grass, gazing and guzzling before the gloriously lighted iconic tower, were at least three hundred gawkers: local Parisians, tourists, lovers, roamers, peddlers of wine and whatnot. One euro from each one of them would turn that mother's life around, at least long enough to get some sleep and a real supper for her and her boy, I thought. My euro? Although I fiddled with it, it didn't find its way out of my deep and lonely pocket. Shame, I knew, would walk me back home and then kick me to sleep. And so it now does. Yes, two nights in a row, fear, of the tomorrows and the yesterdays, rendered me a man of straw. The present, torturously jerked and pulled, on the stretching block of doubt; dimmed, for now. E




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