November 4, 2010
The hustle and bustle of everyday life continues as people look down upon me, with disgusting looks that put daggers in my heart. I rhythmically jingle my close-to- empty McDonald’s cup hoping one caring individual will stop for a moment and give my change. The subways run back and forth and thousands of people pass, and they know that I will go hungry tonight, and they won’t do anything about it.

I wasn’t always a homeless man; I was once a happy child running around the streets of Boston with all of my friends. We would swing on the swings and pretend to be monkeys in the jungle, climbing over the playground, and jumping from station to station. Life was my sandbox and I could’ve done anything that I wanted at that time. I was like any other kid until my parents became divorced. My mom became depressed and didn’t want anything to do with me, because as people said I looked like her, and she couldn’t bear to look at me if I was happy. My dad on the other hand became a severe alcoholic, disappearing into the bars at night, only to come home drunk and violent. He would yell at me for his marriage falling apart and all the problems he faced. He would beat me, until I too had too many problems to deal with.

Eventually, life became a rhythmic routine, Mom ignoring me from Sunday afternoon to Wednesday night and then being beaten for all the problems in the world from Thursday till Sunday night. I never felt like I belonged, and never felt like anybody cared about me. On one July 4th weekend when I was nine, my dad had had too much to during and he beat me, but this was even worse than any other time. I escaped his rage full punches long enough for me to hit him back. I ran away as fast as I could straight tom y mom’s house. She wouldn’t let me in complaining that it was my dad’s day to house me. I ran to a close train station and snuck on the train and went straight to Penn Station.

My first few days on the street were easy, people saw a young bruised up child only carrying the clothes on his back and the money came in quickly. People drops ones, fives, and even sometimes twenties. With no skills in money management, I bought toys to play with for when I was bored, and boxes of cereal to eat for meals. Slowly, the money stopped coming in and slowly I could no longer afford anything because I wasted it all. I was still making about 10 dollars a day, but that was not enough to feed my hunger.

As I became older, my cuteness factor began to wear off, and puberty made me hungrier than ever. I began to sleep all the time to avoid feeling hungry, and that meant I had less time to collect money. I began to start making only about 5 dollars a day, which barely buys me a good dinner from a McDonalds or Taco Bell. As winters hit, I would have no money to buy a jacket, and would have to resort to stealing. I would do anything to stay warm. I tried to get arrested so I would have a place to stay, but I was too scared to get anything above a misdemeanor. No places would hire me because of my lack of nice clothes and stability. I stay in different spots every night. If a winter night was too cold I would purposely try to break my arm, so I could spend the night at the hospital, but the hospitals didn’t want to house me, they would give me a sling, and have me be on my way.

As I got into my mid twenties, I had made a few friends, and made a few enemies. I had gotten the routine of where gives the most money and where I am welcome. I began to spend days and nights at the subway tracks and mornings outside of an old bakery, where the bakers would give me scraps of the last day’s sales. I would eat whatever I could get, and I would do whatever it would take. I would spend all my money at McDonalds because they gave me discounts out of sympathy. Though my life was not turning out the way that I had planned, I was proud about all that I had accomplished to make my life a positive experience.

As I began to reach my thirties, the stock market crash happened. I found myself having to work hard for just a penny, and even saw more new faces out on the street doing the same thing I had done since I was nine. I had to compete with people who had connections to the business world, and who actually know some of the people that passed me by, and he got money from them. People lost their jobs and therefore could not afford to give away their extra pocket change, and money became scarce. More times that usual, I found myself working with other people, so we could all share a hamburger. I contemplated suicide several times; nobody would even recognize my existence anyway. I attempted to get to the top of the Empire state building, but they wouldn’t let me in because of “security” issues. My life was slowly turning out to become a depressing thought.

What kept my sanity was this journal that a little girl dropped on her way to her mom’s work. It was brand new. I began to write down my life story starting the day I found it, sitting in a subway station, trying to get money.

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blueandorange This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 7:15 am
I like it!  It's very real, you can see it happen right in front of you.  It gives you a lot to think about.  Great job!
Joshua K. replied...
Nov. 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm
Thank you blue and orange
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