The Decline

“No one should be hungry,” the familiar booming voice would call after me as I walked to class. A tall middle aged man with the empty water gallon became a consistent part of my college experience. Digging through my pockets to find some form of change, I could only hear him reciprocating with a, “God bless you,” a few times.

When I returned the following year, I noticed that his booming voice was no longer calling after college students. I found myself shying away from the side of the street he was on because the sound of his voice could no longer reach me; it was replaced by a robotic tone, a haunting one, a memorable one.

And then, one day I walked past the same string of words that caught my attention the first year, in the same manner and tone. Shocked, I turned to look at the source only to find the man from a year ago. A smile broke across his face as he stood in front of the empty water gallon calling for donations.

Had I not just seen him a week before apathetically and defeatedly asking me for money?

A moment passed as I continued walking when I realized:

This is what a miracle is.

Yet, 2016 held its own plan. Following the familiar path, I began digging through my pockets, as if the pennies I’d find would be enough to honor the miracle I had witnessed. But, as I walked down the street, I realized that I couldn’t find him.

Instead, a man with a white beard wrapped in a blue jacket was crumpled on the ground. The water gallon was propped upon a black crate as a meek voice uttered the phrase, “No should be hungry.”

As each moment past, it became increasingly more difficult to look away. My eyes began to dampen, but they stayed fixed upon him. Time had debilitated him into what was that day. It had grabbed on to what seemed to breed strength and knocked it over until there was no hope of getting it back. Time married death long ago and offered death to be the dominant one ultimately. There were hiccups though, as time cheated death by prolonging death’s victory. And, when time cheats death, we, as humans, consider this to be a miracle. But, in the end, we’re all living only to be snatched away by the hands of death whenever time wins and we forfeit, so the decline of humanity is simply inevitable.