A Homeless Man's Heart

July 23, 2010
"Daddy...where will we sleep tonight?" People passed us on the street, not bothering a second glance as we sat on the curb, cold and hungry. "I don't know,son," I sighed. More crowds of people. Chicago winters were not kind, and I was not an outdoorsman, nor was I normally homeless. In fact, about 24 hours ago, I was the kind of man that gave them not a passing glance. The thought of this caused a lump in my throat. Not only had I been heartless, I had married a heartless woman. The flashbacks of yesterday flooded my mind and my fingers numbed slowly from the cold.
I came home on a normal day to find Ryder on the front lawn. That was when I knew something was wrong. Ryder is only four, which explains why he was chewing on the post-it note taped to his jacket. I jogged to him and picked it off, reading with dismay.
We have been evicted. I took all the belongings out of the house. You will never see me again, but I will send you the divorce papers.

I was shocked. First of all, we were not poor. I worked and made plenty of money. Money that I hadn't realized my "darling wife" was spending on parties, clothes, and probably other men. I ran to the door of the house and tried to open it. Even with my key, none of the locks would budge. The bank came, and took my car. My boss called me, hearing of my misfortune, and promptly fired me, asking me to turn in my company cell phone. Ryder and I sat in the front yard for awhile as I tried to digest the fact that I had nowhere to go. No family, no friends that really cared. So as Ryder fell asleep in my arms, I found a bench in Millenium Park and there we sat. Most people ignored us, even with a sign I managed to scrounge out of old cardboard. "Homeless, food, money appreciated. God Bless" was all I could fit. The night got colder, and after saying god bless you a half a million times, I had two dollars in pennies and dimes. Ryder sneezed. I wondered if he could survive the cold, and how long he had gone without food. I wondered what Child Services would have to say about this. Would he get taken away too, just like everything? The son I had neglected for long nights at work? A tear fell down my face, the cold wind making it sting me. I watched as people walked by that had been just like me, more concerned about themselves than the ones who needed help more than anything. Ryder fell asleep silently in my arms as I wrapped him up as tight as I could, praying he'd be okay. I promised God that if I ever got out of this, I'd help every homeless person on the street crying out. I learned something important the hard way in a short time. If we didn't have money, we'd all be rich.

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