It was an October day and I was standing in the sunny courtyard, eating soup, when I greeted him.
I’ve known him for at least fifteen years. He looked terrible. Simply terrible. Like whatever had been holding him together before had given up and walked away.
He was glad to see me, and opened his arms. We hugged, me trying to keep the soup bowl out of the way, and doing my “turn one shoulder slightly toward the person” so as to not get full body contact. As a person in a female presenting body, it’s how I hug people on the street.
I hugged him, even though he was filthy, and I would rather be clean. I hugged him even though, as an introvert, I’m not always very big on hugs.
I hugged him because I am never sure when anyone last touched him in kindness.
I hugged him as an act of mercy for us both, because I want to live in a world where everyone gets touched in kindness sometimes.
I was there at the soup kitchen – aka the House of Hospitality – because in a just world, hungry people are fed.
Kindness and justice can walk hand in hand, though that is not always the case. The possibility is always there, in every interaction.