I’m a failure

I locked my car door
and this
guy walked up
he looked like my old
friend Peter
but it wasn’t Peter
it was a skinny dude
in blue workshirt and torn jeans
and he said,
“hey, man, my wife and I
need something to eat!
we’re starving!”
I looked behind him
and there was his
woman
and she stared at me
her eyes brimming with
tears.
I gave him a five.
“I love you, man!” he
hollered, “and I’m not going to
spend it on booze!”
“why not?” I said.

I went and
took care of some business
came back
got into my car
and
contemplated
whether I had done
something good
or been taken.

as I drove off
I remembered my years on the
bum
starved damn near beyond repair and
I had never asked anyone for a
dime.

that night
I explained to the lady I lived with
how I often gave money to panhandlers
but that
in the darkest hungriest times of my
life I had refused
to ask anyone for
anything.

“you just never knew how to do any-
thing right,” she said.

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