Let's all celebrate Malik's birthday. Malik had a slice of pizza with me out in the sun on Washington Street today. No one wanted to sit near us. Malik was dressed like a homeless man because he is homeless.
He had tattered clothes on and a hoodie. We made an odd looking couple, me in my suit and tie, and he across from me at the sidewalk cafe. He was limping past as I was ordering my slice. I waved him over and he said he was hungry. Malik mumbled and spoke very slowly but finally made me realize that it was his birthday as he handed me his N.J. license. There it was. The same birthdate as today's date. I wished him a happy birthday and he quietly said thank you. Everything he said was quiet. He reminded me of Peter Sellers in the movie Being There.
There was no cake, no celebration, no relatives or presents. Malik sat down and just ate is cheese slice. I didn't bother him too much. Later when he was nearly done, he told me he was from Jersey City and used to do landscape work until he hurt his spine, 'C12' and that's why he was limping. His mannerisms and the slow cadence of his speech led me to the conclusion that he was on strong medication for his pain.
I asked him if he was a Christian, he said yes and I offered him a blessing. I asked him to try to remember me if he sees me on the street again. Malik limped away but this time he turned and thanked me again. I almost didn't want to let him go, but I couldn't do much more. It was his birthday after all! This is a story that glorifies God, not me. This is a story about Malik's birthday. It's not about me. I hope I see him again.