Beggar

January 30, 2011
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They can’t hear me. I’ve been at this for two hours- yelling as loud as my vocal cords will allow- trying to let them hear me.
To them it’s just meaningless cacophony, my voice both standing out and blending in at the same time into the busy city landscape. Everywhere I turn, there are people rushing by, glancing in my direction, but not taking a second from their busy lives to fulfill my simple request. I’m hungry.
The occasional small child will stop and stare for no more than two seconds- long enough for our eyes to lock together and for my message to send telepathically. It seems small children have the least cares in the world, so they are more likely to stop and listen to the whines and pleading of a beggar like myself. They’re the only ones innocent enough- so care-free and naïve- that they can sense when there’s something wrong, or if someone’s in pain. Small children and I share a common thread- we both know how to make people feel better in their suffering. We both provide a stable platform for the weak and weary. Even if we don’t know how or why our services are needed, we provide them for those who need it- those we love.
The grown people are chatting on their cell phones, checking emails, and doing whatever it is grown people do. I wouldn’t know anything about them grown up people. They’re so busy running their lives in so many directions, trying to accomplish so many mind-melting tasks at one time that they don’t have time to look in my direction and read my need. To them I’m nothing but a beggar (which, I am). A savage.
I put on my most innocent face and cry out again- trying for them to hear my cry. Again, they walk on by as if there weren’t any problems in the world worth caring about. It’s almost as if I am a spirit no one can sense. I’m less than matter- less than something. I feel suddenly like I’m trapped in a ghost story where I can’t be heard or acknowledged.
My sister always paid attention to me. She’d rub my back when I slept. She fed me and took care of me, always asking, “Max-a-million, did you eat all of your food?” and “Young man, it’s late! Why aren’t you in bed?”
I saw my sister pass me- or a younger version of her energetic self. This little girl was cute- four or five at the most. Wearing a smile the size of Texas and eyes the color of the Pacific Ocean, she stopped in front of me and touched my arm. I smile at her- remembering my sister and how she’d do the same thing.
After thirty seconds or so, her mother comes over. She towers over the girl and me, sitting on the mud-stained ground.
“Sophie, get off the ground! It’s filthy!” Her mother practically screams, making me squirm at the sound of her stern, strict voice. Picking Sophie up off the ground and dusting her off, I whimper, and plead, “Please! No, don’t go!”
But it’s no use. Sophie’s mother is dragging her daughter by the left arm, holding her hand in a death squeeze. Sophie looks back at me, smiles a smile that could melt the polar ice cap, and gives me a tiny wave, her eyes sorrowful and knowing. I sigh and lay down. My newly found best friend is gone.
She could hear me; those small children can hear me. But I can’t seem to get my message through to the rest of the world.
I yelp out once more as the sun dips lower behind the New York streets. If I can get even one person to hear me, I won’t go home hungry tonight. No one else takes a second look at me as I make my descent down fourth street wondering. Wondering Why? Why can't they hear me?
Then I get my answer: They can’t understand me because I’m just another stray dog in this gargantuan city.





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Sunshine said...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

I like the story Lauryn, in that I can so easily visualize the setting.  Great choice of words to paint the scene. I could really 'feel' it. 

Would love to have you elaborate more on how you and children make people feel better and how you provide a stable platform for those you love.  I could see where you could maybe even twist it to show that the adults (that you don't know very well but sure have an accurate description of :)) are the ones screaming out and the ones ... (more »)

 
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