I couldn’t break free from work in time to hoof it to a 6:00 yoga class, so I attended a 7:10 movie with Devi instead, The Black Swan.  I love ballet, I love Swan Lake, I think Natalie Portman’s cool and stunningly beautiful.  What’s not to like?

But I came away from the movie feeling…hmmm…didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it, either.  It was too dark, too distressing and far too hard witnessing her character’s ultimate descent into madness.

As I drove home, disturbing images swirling about in my mind, I noticed the man in the median begging for money.  Feeling sensitive, perhaps, after the movie’s emotional turbulance, I rolled down my window, smiled and gave him a dollar.  He smiled back, flashing a peace sign as he took my money.  “Your smile is so pretty, much better than money,” he said (for which I almost gave him another dollar).

He cocked his head as I prepared to roll up the window.  “Such beautiful music,” he continued, his tone soft and dreamy.  “The voice of an angel.”

I was listening to the Joni Mitchell CD, the one sent by my friend.  My stereo was cranked high; Joni’s poignantly expressive voice soared into the night.

“Yes, I agree,” I replied, wistfulness washing over me as I thought of my friend.

The man and I smiled at each other again as the light changed.  I left the window down, music streaming from my car as I turned the corner.  The man stepped back onto the median, clutching his sign.

It was only a moment.  But I think I brought a little levity into one man’s life.  And he brought reality – the good kind – back into mine.