Toilet paper and Shampoo, that's all he needs. Shuffling through the snow and through the parking lot he see's you. A long dark brown coat wrapped over layers of coats. Insulation, paper, anything not in the cart to your right is stuffed inside of you.
Following each person with your eyes, not pleading, simply asking. Shame is written on your face. Discomfort on his. Waking inside the store, the familiarity of its aisles knock out a short time frame, minute for each item. First, hair care. The white bottle selected after a moments deliberation. Walking two aisles over, the first set of four rolls is grabbed without care of the brand.
Thoughts of seeing the man on the church porch at night, curled under the bench. The occasional partner sharing the stoop, huddled heat the only thing possible to give of either, but worth more than any plea might bring. The aversion of eyes when panhandled on corners. The red scrapes down the front of the nose. The eyes. Once proud, rejection's taken their toll, lines outline the days of begging, deepened by the nights of wondering if this time will be the last.
Another aisle over, protein bars, nutrigrain, health snacks. The options are quickly sized up. Nuts. A protein heavy and filling set of 10 bars, each laden with nuts and sealed with oats and honey. Pulled from the shelf, it only takes another minute to get to the cashiers line.
Goods purchased, one hand resting on the box of food as the sliding doors roll open as he exits. The man is still there. Walking up, the box slides from the plastic bag and without saying a word held up and offered.
Surprise. Eyebrows raised, the eyes are suddenly visible. There is no pretense, and there is no lie in the voice as the gnarled and grooved hands close around the cardboard. "Thank you brother"