from Ray Bradburyâ€™s The Beggar on O’Connell Bridge
The snow was falling fast now, erasing the lamps and the statues in the shadows of the lamps below.
“How do you tell the difference between them?” I asked. “How can you tell which is honest, which isn’t?”
“The fact is,” said the manager quietly, “you canâ€™t. There’s no difference between them. [â€¦] So what does it prove? You cannot stare them down or look away from them. You cannot run and hide from them. You can only give to them all. If you start drawing lines, someone gets hurt.”
A moment later, going down in the haunted night elevator, I found the new tweed cap in my hand.
Coatless, in my shirtsleeves, I stepped out into the night.
I gave the cap to the first man who came. I never knew if it fit. What money I had in my pockets was soon gone.
Then, left alone, shivering, I happened to glance up. I stood, I froze, blinking up through the drift, the drift, the silent drift of blinding snow. I saw the high hotel windows, the lights, the shadows.
What’s it like up there? I thought. Are fires lit? Is it warm as breath? Who are all those people? Are they drinking? Are they happy?
Do they even know I’m HERE?