Saturday, May 1, 2010

Meant To Be

The call came at midnight. I had a romantic evening planned last night with my wife and we had just gotten the kids to sleep.

“That’s twice this week, hun.” My wife complained from her side of the bed as I quickly dressed.

I arrived on scene, and was quickly briefed. A body was found lying face down in the trash and when I helped roll the body over noticed that it was the homeless man whom I had befriended a few years back.

When I finally made it back home I couldn’t help but think to myself, he died before he ever got a second chance.

Tonight the bench on Stratton’s cobblestone street sat empty. I shook my head and suddenly felt the need to grieve. Sitting down upon it, I placed my head in my hands, and with closed eyes, took a deep breath.

I was greeted with memories of people I had frequently passed: loving couples, mothers with children waiting for the bus, senior citizens taking a breather while on their morning stroll, but more prominently were memories of the homeless man who, a mere twenty-four hours ago, was still living.

He looked to be in his sixties when I first met him some years ago. The memory of the morning I handed him my untouched coffee and the smile on his face followed by a gruff thank you was the first that came to mind. Another memory stuck out of sitting on that same bench talking like old friends do and of him telling me of his life before times were hard.

With my head in my hands, I silently sobbed, thinking about all the things I could have done to give this man a better life other than to offer him a free cup of coffee in the mornings and a friendly chat.

Regaining my composure I dried my eyes, wiped my nose and slowly stood. Turning to look at the empty side of the bench where my friend always sat I smiled, “May God’s grace forever smile upon you.”

Something caught my eye just as I was turning away, an envelope, stuck to the bottom side of the bench, barely visible through the slats. I sat back down and pulling the envelope from its hiding place I began inspecting it. Upon opening I found a letter that read:

I have a feeling that my time is soon coming. I do not regret my life, it has been full of hardships and I have lived as best as I could. If you are reading this, please deliver this to Detective Mills. I don’t know where he lives, but want him to know just how much I appreciate what he’s done for me. There was a morning a few years ago that I had decided that I had had enough of living this life. It was on that morning that a visitor came. The visitor handed me his unopened coffee and sat down beside me. I hadn’t had that much compassion shown to me in ages. Each day came and I was given another cup of coffee and as we sat and chatted we became just like old friends. That visitor was Detective Mills, and to my dearest friend, Może Bożego Łaskę wiecznie uśmiech na was!

Thank You

Antoni Burak
(Your homeless friend)
Stunned I took the letter home to my wife. How did he know what was coming? How was it that I found the letter that had been meant for me? I found a translator site and after a lot of research came to the decision that the translation must be polish. I knew as soon as I read the English translation that we were meant to be friends, the translation read: May God’s grace forever smile upon you.


  1. A very touching piece of writing, Nic. Very well done. Hope all is well with you. Regards, David.

  2. I really like this one Cole! It makes me smile.

  3. A cup of coffee and a friendly word are such small things but can really make a difference. Nice work CJT!