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Mounds of Quilt
Vol 11 Issue 2

A commuter is what I am called, are you? Each morning bright and early I wake up, shower, shave (sometimes), put on a fresh change of clothes, grab a bite to eat, get in my truck, and drive to the Metro parking lot to take the train to work. That my friends is my definition of a commuter, not Webster’s. The same thing holds true for those who drive to work, whatever the distance in their own vehicles, those guys are commuters, too.

Along the way in the train I bide my time like most others do. I read. I sleep, (sometimes) and I talk. However, most of the time I spend writing short stories, personal commentaries or poetry. One day though, I no longer was a transit commuter, for I saw something changed my outlook, not just on my own lot in life, but how I viewed those around me. It was some sort of meta-physical, metamorphosis, mastication or something like that. Allow me to explain:

One particular morning that was quite chilly, in fact, downright cold, I headed off to my morning commute. The local paper that they give out at the station had the same old order of bad news; War in Iraq, Election Debates and those famous Campaign Promises, Lead in Our Water: and of course, another Wizards and Capitals loss. One glance at the front page was enough for me. I wasn’t tired, there was nobody interesting to talk to, and for some reason, I didn’t feel in the mood to write. So, having the window seat, I just looked outside and saw things that I had never seen before. A huge fishing lake, a couple of nice houses I never knew existed, sand and salt storage facilities, abandoned cars, and tons of graffiti, some of which was quite colorful and interesting.

As we continued, it was under the highway overpass that I saw what looked like, “mounds of quilt.” Blankets of all different colors and sizes; blankets looking like rags to me, that were in fact homes, roofs and shelters to those who reside beneath these, “mounds of quilt.” The dozen or so “mounds of quilt” were actually people who live in homes with a carpet of concrete not Berber, and have roofs of tattered cotton and wool instead of fiberglass shingles. As I looked out upon the “mounds of quilt” all of my problems, needs and wants didn’t seem important to me at all. There’s nothing that I can really do to help them, their problems are far too big for my shoulders to bear.

Before I knew it, we were in a tunnel of darkness, much like the people beneath those “mounds of quilt.” But for the rest of the that day, in fact ever since then, I was no longer a commuter, but I became a person who could put someone else’s feelings in my heart. I became one who could empathize. Are you a “commuter?” Open your eyes first, and then tell me.

by michaellorenzo