05 September 2005

Le sourire d'Angelina Jolie, le regard d'un homme

It's getting close to 5pm, a summer Friday. It's the Central Park zoo and I just met few pinguins and a polar bear. The zoo will close soon and I think it's time to leave. I won't go to the Guggenheim, nor the Met after all. It suddenly bores me to make my way there and the zoo was such fun, so I'll just rest on the grass somewhere. As I'm moving towards the exit, I see people few meters ahead who are accompanied to the adjacent zoo gallery. The space around me is almost empty. I get that the people who were put aside are special. So I go to the guardian and ask. It's a big movie star, he says. Who is it? Angelina Jolie. No kiddin'. So I turn my head toward the door and I see her with her two kids entering the gallery. She turns her head, looking in my direction and she smiles. And then, the door closed. I just caught a glimpse of her but in that glimpse I saw her smiling. In that split second smile, unlike on screen or paper, she was just beautiful and it made me smile too while I enjoyed the rest of my walk in Central Park.
It's after dinner time, Steven wants to get an ice-cream at Christina's which is few steps down the road from the East Coast grill where we ate with Carson and Dimitri. I don't remember which day of the week it was in Boston. As we got out of the restaurant, we made a move towards the parlour. A tall and thin man stands in front of it, he's selling 'Spare change'*. His hair's white, he's not too old although he seems too old for his age. He's wearing all-black clothes. As we enter the store, I turn my head and I see this man's face and the look in his eyes. As the door is closing behind us, I remember it very intensely. Something strikes me. I fetch 2 dollars in my wallet and I get out of Christina's to give the money to that man. He seems very confused and happy and surprised. He insists on giving for each dollar a copy of 'Spare change', the current and the previous editions. I can't define what I see in his eyes but I'm all shaken. His manners are very kind and sweet and I can't say a word anymore, I feel very confused and moved and sad. I entered the store back and as I looked at the papers to hide my face from my friends, I started to cry. And for a while, long after we left the ice-cream parlour, I kept crying for this man's look. I never went back to ask for his name and his story. But my story with him lays in few glances and how two dollars became something so profundly emotional.

*Spare change news | Homeless empowerment project

--Joëlle.

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