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When Have You Disregarded Kindness?

The sun was setting over Astor Place as I stepped of the dance gig I had just photographed. The friend who I did this favor for, his girlfriend, four friends, and some other guy came out. We'll call the first six: Takeshi, Keiko, Sayuri, Kano, Shigeru, and Haruki. The ethnicity of these names is important because, as it should imply, they are all Japanese. We'll call some other guy, X. X is not Japanese.

With the dance performance behind us, we set out to get dinner. I'm friends with all of the Japanese folk. Takeshi and Keiko were both my customers many months back, and through them I met Sayuri, Kano, Shigeru, and Haruki. They help me with my Japanese, and I help them with their English. Our mutual desire to learn our languages has made us into a sort of group.

As we navigated the streets towards Washington Square Park, I saw that X was still with us. I never met him before, and throughout the dance performance, he was quiet and reserved. Even as we walked towards our culinary destination, he didn't say much. X had an awkward affect, and didn't seem all that sociable. In all, I was slightly put off by his awkwardness and thoroughly plain appearance.

We made it to dinner, a small Italian place that took cash only. I didn't realize the financial requirement until the end of the evening, and I had to think over my options as I only had a credit card. When the bill came, I was about to ask Takeshi if he could spot me, and I'd get him the cash when we get near my bank. Before the words could leave my mouth, X said he would take care of my meal as well as his.

I offered a small thanks, but didn't say much else. We left the restaurant and headed back towards Astor Place. X engaged me in conversation, and it lasted for a bit until Keiko walked alongside me. I started talking to her in Japanese and made the wall between me and X ever more apparent.

I don't know what it was, but there was just this inborn aversion. He had paid for my dinner without even knowing a shred about me, and I couldn't get past whatever it was that kept me away. X didn't deserve my blatant coldness. His kindness died a tragic death, and I didn't even bother to say any words at the funeral.

When have you disregarded kindness?

X
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