April 4, 2005 by Allen George
Passing Roy Thomson Hall
“I’m going to kill you!”
The escalator is unimpressed.
“Going to kill all of you!”
His arm rises, index outstretched, a palpable tremor at its tip. The tiled wall, office-building brown, office-building bland stands silent; returns his accusatory gaze.
The swiveled door hisses open and a woman walks through – walks into the safety of the Roy Thomson PATH. An office-mate passes, reaches for the very doors she left.
Swivel on that heel.
“Be careful” she mouths.
Your progress continues without a pause to reflect. There is a goal. There is a deadline. And you have to make it. But you’re interested and your eyes drop. Reaching. Searching. Extending their gaze, inch by inch, foot by foot…until…it rests at their feet. The office-mate and the homeless.
Black leather. Clean. Well-buffed and oiled – no salt or mud visible. Somewhere a mannequin’s missing her feet.
Dirty white sneakers. Torn. Mud-stained. Soles showing their age – opening, closing – as limbs shuffle in place.
“Click. Clack. Click. Clack”
Oh – you hear it too! She speeds up. Heels snap away at the tiled floor as she navigates past the finger, past his undirected threat. What is she thinking? Will she reach for her cell phone and call security? Remove this…this…intrusion from the public spaces into the sanity of the office towers? Sweep him out from the immaculately maintained tower basements into the wreck of the subway stations?
Maybe she’s simply relieved. Tonight she’ll tell her friends about “that homeless man” under Roy Thomson Hall. Talk about the city’s homeless problem. Bemoan a system that’s rudderless, bereft of long-term goals and cash.
When you return 10 minutes later he is gone.