SLOW & STEADY Ariel Ramos

As the sun beams into my eyes, I wake up and get to my feet. I yawn as I stretch my body. The smell of wet soil and garbage doesn’t bother me, as it would a person wearing a tie and a fancy watch.  As I stand there, I notice the white Nissan with a Miami Heat plate rush by.  I know it’s a quarter to seven.  My neighbors start to walk to the service vans that provide the only free meal.  A frigid drop lands on my head.  I look up to see the high bridges over me, but the longer I gaze, the higher I feel I’m flying.  The cars overhead rush with thunderous engines, and I wake up from reality.

After my free meal, I sit for a while under the noisy bridge.  After a few hours the driver of the white Nissan rushes by with a burger in his mouth and I know it’s a quarter to twelve.  As the young driver of the Nissan stops at a traffic light, he punches the steering wheel.  He must be in a hurry.  I slowly get to my feet and walk towards the busiest street.  I begin to ask for money and food in the melting temperature.

After four hours and seven dollars, a familiar car pulls up next to me.  The young driver of the Nissan that is always in a hurry stops to give me a bottle of water.

“Can I give you some advice?” I say.

Surprised at what I asked him, he gives me a grin.  “Sure,” he tells me.

“You should really slow down,” I suggest.

“And why in the world would I do that?” he asks.

“Because life is beautiful when you slow down and enjoy it.”
“Really?” he responds sarcastically.

“Really.” I answer back. “I had it all once, used to live always stressed out.  I was always in a hurry, until it all came to a sudden halt and I lost it all,” I paused for a second as the traffic light turned green.  ”Life is not a race, but indeed a journey.”

“Sure,” he tells me and speeds off.  Before disappearing from sight, I notice for the first time cars passing him as he slows down.