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I never dreamed or even thought that my life would end up like this. I thought I had worked hard, but I ended up with so little. There is a question, though that is always haunting the back of my mind. It is, could this all be my fault? I mean I knew I kind of made the choice to run, but I felt trapped and guilty. Well, no matter what I think now, I am still homeless.
I remember becoming homeless as well as a child remembers getting their first puppy. Now, as I sit here on the cold, hard sidewalk, I’m going to replay in my head what exactly happened for me to come to this lifestyle. It was about 2 months ago at about 2:00 p.m., and it started with my mom talking to me.
“Henry, you’re a grown man now. I think it would be in your best interest to get a job,” she said calmly.
“I’m inventing something, dang’nt! Stop interrupting me!” I replied.
She quickly said, “Honey, I just want you to be successful! You went to college for eight years, and now you are sitting in an apartment trying to invent some gadget. Also, I need help paying the rent here. Ever since your father died, it’s been kind of tough.”
“Loretta (my mom’s name),” I screamed turning red, “Stop telling m what to do! I’ll live in this apartment for free if I want to!” Then, I got so mad because she mad a sad, pathetic face, so I broke one of her favorite China plates. This brought tears to my mother’s eyes, but I didn’t feel bad at all.
“Now, go to the store and get some milk!” I screamed. My mom didn’t know how to respond to this. I could tell she was getting stressed which is actually bad because she has this dangerous heart disease, but still I didn’t care. After a few minutes of utter silence, my mom slammed the door and I knew she went to go get the milk.
It was about 30 minutes later that I got the call from the hospital saying that my mom had a heart attack and then got in a car crash. They said that she wasn’t, but she was badly hurt, and I could come see her in about 15 minutes. I hung up the phone quickly and then felt really guilty. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I ended up running out of the house and becoming homeless.
Today (2 months later) I sit in a dirty cardboard box on the side of the road. My once short brown hair is now long and scraggly. My outfit that was new 2 months ago is now smelly and tattered. After all of this, I have still not forgiven myself for the accident. I looked at the few dollars I had got (from sympathetic people) in my baseball hat and decided to go to the gas station and buy some water. As I entered, I got the same looks of disgust from people I always get. I quickly went to find the cheapest bottle of water I could, and then rushed to the checkout line. When I was waiting in the line I overheard a little girl and her mom talking about me.
She said, “Hey momma, why is that guy so smelly?”
The mom replied, “He is homeless, Kristen. Don’t talk to him!”
Kristen replied, “Why? I feel sorry for him!”
“Just don’t talk to him, okay?” the mom said more anxiously this time. After that, there was silence and the mom and daughter grabbed their bags and left. I bought my water and quickly left the store thinking about what the girl said.
As I walked out of the gas station, I saw the little girl sitting on the sidewalk by herself. I decided to go ask her where her mom was. I didn’t want her getting lost.
When I walked over, she immediately said something to me. She asked, “Why are you homeless?”
I sighed and at this little girl who looked about 7 and eventually said, “Long story.”
The girl replied, “I have time. My mom is in the car wash and I’m waiting out here because I hate the car wash.” After some thinking, I decided it would be good to tell someone the story. I needed to get it off my chest. So, I told her how I was basically a jerk, gave my mom a heart attack, and couldn’t forgive myself.
She was quiet for a while, and then finally said, “Wow you were a meanie but I think you should forgive yourself. I forgived myself when I broke my mom’s favorite glass bird. I mean, I thought she hated me, but you know what she said?”
I shook my head.
“She said that she will love me not matter what because I am her daughter! By the way, your momma must miss you!” She then hugged me and ran off to her mom in the new clean car. It took me a long time to take in all her words. Then, finally I figured out what I must do.
It was about 10:00 that night when I went to my real home. I saw my mom on our couch looking at baby pictures of me. When she saw me, tears filled her eyes. She grabbed me and before I could say sorry about 1000 times she said, “I’m so glad you’re back!”
Later that night, lying in my bed, I was thinking of that little girl. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here right now. She taught me how to forgive.