One afternoon I bought a tart for thirty dollars.
Didn't seem like much at the time, just a couple of bills out of my back pocket, for a tart about three-quarters the size of my fist, laden with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
I popped a strawberry in my mouth and I liked it, so I took another bite. Didn't like the whipped cream so much. Ate the strawberries, the edges of the chocolate pastry, and threw the rest of the tart away.
When I turned around and strolled back home, I felt the sunshine on my face and I thought that this world could do with a little more happiness, this bliss of a bright afternoon, more often.
Then I rounded the corner and saw an old lady. My hands dropped to my sides, out of my pockets. Saw her clear as day, next to the trash can, picking out pieces of cardboard to sell to a recycling centre.
Bright sunshine, brutally bright, shining on a woman with a crooked back and silver hair and a face lined with the weight of the world. Hands weighed with cardboard. It wouldn't earn her much: maybe a dollar, maybe two. Wouldn't amount to thirty.
I stood there that afternoon after spending thirty dollars on a tart I hadn't liked, in the warm sunshine, seeing an old woman digging for her living in a pile of trash—and I thought that the world could do more with a little less of those like me.