"Do you have something to write with?"
A brother, a sister, and a friend are playing a game on paper. They need one more pen. I have some to spare. I hand them one--and start drawing with two others.
Today is Christopher Streets Day (CSD)--LGBT pride fest in this city in Germany. The train soon fills with kids, young adults, and even the elderly sporting rainbow wristbands, shoes, and face paint. A woman takes a seat beside me and makes conversation with the friends. She helps the youngest win the trivia quiz; she hands him an unfoldable CSD hat. Everyone is festive.
Almost everyone. The man in front of me knits his brows and listens to headphones. I draw him next. He notices. He takes the finished portrait in his hands. He reaches into his pocket. "Thank you," he says. "It's really good what you do." He hands me a few euros. "I don't have a lot of money," he tells me. "I work as a translator. Today, AI translation means we're only needed to correct a few typos here and there. I get less and less each year. But that's exactly why I want to give you this." He looks hard at me as he adds: "the world needs more people like you." My stop arrives. The friendly woman with the hat gets off here too. She turns back as we leave the train. "Don't ever change who you are." She means it too.
It was a 40 minute train ride. It was a few portraits. But it really meant something to these two. I wont forget that.