Gambling with Humanity

Both Feet

Not two minutes into my New York experience and I’m approached by a stranger on West 106 Street.

“Excuse me,” a young girl bursts through the door of a convenience store, breathing heavily – her hands trembling as she approaches me.

She’s wearing a modest pair of jeans and a faded purple tank top that clings to her emaciated body. Her cheeks are sunken in, she looks under-nourished, scared and rattled.

She couldn’t be more than 22.

“My name’s Brooke, I have anxiety, it’s a serious condition, I’m — please-” she sucks in a much-needed breath. There is worry in her features, she is struggling for breath, her eyes darting every which way until they finally rest on mine.

2 planes, 2 buses, 2 backpacks, 2 hours sleep and a 2-block walk through the sketchy back streets of Harlem interaction free, yet it’s here, not 50m from my hostel that I am approached.

I look…

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