A man stood at the bottom of the stairs in the college building, asking each person who walked down from the second floor, "Can you help me?" or "Can you give me a dollar?"
His mouth was half toothless. His teeth were pointy. They were rugged like mountains.
His teeth were a pale yellow.
His clothes were decent. He didn't have any holes in them. He was covered from head to toe, in the Michigan winter chill.
I told myself, "Keep walking. Pretend like you're busy so he won't bother you." But he did.
He repeated one of his questions, "Can you help me?"
"I'm sorry," I said, without giving an explanation.
He had dried patches of fluid near his eyes.
At 5'9 ft, he wore a hat, a beige jacket, and long pants. He held a brown paper bag.
I walked to the study lounge where my sister studied on a 5-by-10 foot table.
I told her what had just happened.
He showed up at the lounge. Walking past our table, I could feel his eyes darting towards me.
My sister tried to convince me not to feel bad for not helping him.
"Oh, he's not homeless. He is dressed well, doesn't have anything broken on him, and he doesn't look hungry," she said.
"You can tell he's not homeless," my sister repeated.
"I have to go to class," I told my sister.
"If you still feel like you have to help him...," she shrugged.
I walked over to a vending machine before returning to class. Just as I was about to insert a dollar bill into the machine, I saw him again.
"Can you help me please?" he said, as he slightly leaned in towards me. He was next to my face.
"What do you want the money for?" I said, demanding for a good answer.
He stammered. He stumbled over words.
My eyes bore into him.
"I want to get some McDonald's," he said.
He repeated it.
"Okay." I said, handing him the dollar bill.
I stormed off to class. I could hear his voice trailing down the stairs.
"Can you help me? I want to get some McDonald's," he said to someone else.