Another normal day, as sun hung brightly in the sky, wind slowly brushed over my face, I stepped out of my two story apartment.
I saw two little birds sitting on a branch of a shaded tree, happily chirping in sync with nature. Two squirrels chasing each other, playfully enjoyed this God-given day. I stepped down some little steps immersing myself in this natural music and scene, when suddenly a coke bottle out of nowhere dropped in front of me, startled and bewildered, I made a sudden stop, and realized myself next to a dumpster.
Then suddenly I saw this middle-aged, dark-skinned, hunchback man, standing inside the dumpster. I couldn’t tell how tall he was. I could only see his head, the only body part outside the trash bin.
“What is he doing inside?” I murmured to myself.
But soon I realized. He was picking out bottles and boxes for recycling.
A cluster of what we regarded as trash, he picked them up and threw them out to the ground.
He was throwing out every piece of “trash” and about to bring them back to what might be a third-handed bike he owned that leaned against a tree by the road.
As I walked by the dumpster, I saw a DPS car driving toward the apartment. I didn’t think much, but I had this nauseous feeling inside… was the worst about to come?
The less I wanted to witness, the closer the car was approaching.
The officers stepped out of their white car, walked toward the dark-skinned man, who was now about to climb out…
I didn’t dare to step too close.
About 20 feet away, I saw the officers took out a notepad, what might very well be a ticket book.
I was speechless, numb, and my heart stopped pounding all of a sudden.
Unshed tears prickled painfully. I watched as the officers ordered the man to come outside. Those weary eyes, begged for leniency. After a short talk, I saw the man, reluctantly, threw back the bottles and boxes he’d picked out back to the dumpster, and his trembling hands, hesitant to reach for the ticket.
All that he just did was in vain.
I wondered, what was wrong of him picking out recycling items? Was it because the dumpster was a university property? But a dumpster? Really?
But what about him, and perhaps his hungry children eagerly awaiting their daddy to get home?
What about the people? Where did compassion go?
That day, I saw the man biked away with other recycling items he obtained before his arrival at this ominous site. Against the sunlight that made my eyes blind, I walked away with a heavy sigh…on the bike he went, my heart, flew with him, out to the distant road…never came back again.
By Farn-Ru (Sharon) Tseng