I said to him.
I was at McDonald's on Wacker Drive and he was ahead of me at the drink station.
I had noted his disheveledness while I was in line paying and then I noticed the crudely fashioned cross around his neck and commented on it.
“Thank you, I made it myself” he replied, smiling broadly with his missing-front-top-tooth grin. He pulled back his multi-layers of clothing to reveal the cross and his Barack Obama t-shirt.
“Would it be okay if I took a picture of it on your Obama t-shirt...just the cross?” I inquired.
“Sure. I usually have red/white & blue suspenders on…but I don’t today!” he replied.
Here is that shot:
He then asked my name, sticking his hand out, awaiting my shaking of it.
“Susan. What is yours?” I asked, stepping back, trying to avoid the shake and dropping my straw in the process.
He picked up the straw, answered my question with “Benjamin” and again reached his hand out towards me.
I firmly shook it.
He then offered me his cross, I refused it, letting him know that wasn’t my intent. He insisted, saying that he makes them all the time and gives them away.
So I accepted and asked “Where do you live, Benjamin?”
“Well, that’s a problem. I‘m homeless right now, but it is going to be okay. I am getting a sleeping bag today.” he responded.
“So sorry to hear that" I said as I fumbled in my purse for some money. "Here are two dollars, that is all I have, but I want you to have it, in payment for the cross.” I told him.
“No! Jesus flipped over tables in the temple. I will not take it.” he responded as he pulled his arms back, putting his hands up near his shoulders.
I wasn't sure what that all meant, but I did realize that Benjamin, a once-handsome-now-disheveled-toothless-homeless-cross-artist, would not take my money.
So I thanked him and with my crudely-fashioned-cross in hand, I headed to the train, not sure what, if anything, I am to learn from Benjamin and his cross.
i'm at a loss