Penthouses

The world is God’s body, the rain his sweat gone cold. All afternoon, it’d hammered down around us, cutting deep at the sun and the heat and the warmth. It seemed to take God by surprise, when we picked up our layers of tattered, faded blankets and stained hoodies and dug ourselves down deep inside them. Anyway, night came, with the rain stopping soon after, and the silence was just as loud as the timpani of water pounding pavement. The old playground we camped in was near drowning in the raindrops that clung to the chipped white paint on the monkey-bars and saturated the asphalt. One lone street lamp stood at the corner, it’s sick yellow light burying everything else. Lord, we were dirty under that light.

A car alarm sounded in the distance, before it was eaten by the shrieking of a police siren. I didn’t even jump. I remember, my first night outside, I was certain I wouldn’t sleep one bit. I just sat there, my back pressed between a wall and a garbage can in some near-empty, sorry ass corner of the park, hiding under leaves and shouting at every rat that ran through the brambles and scrambled over my ripped sneakers. But I suppose I must’ve slipped off at some point, as I woke up that next morning with a garbage man standing over me telling me to get the hell out of there. I thanked God to have survived, of course, once I’d gotten over the initial shock of my awakening. That was when I was still innocent, still young and stupid and maybe even happy. Since then, I’ve learned that there’s safety in numbers.

It’s some time past midnight now, and most of us are asleep. The fires that had jutted from the mouths of garbage cans, their lithesome bodies dancing, were now just finicky flickerings, their flames clipped and castrated, waiting for the end. I suppose that’s how you’d describe me. Waiting for the end. I’m not waiting in the sense that we all are, waiting for Jesus to return and to take the believers away from this place. This lottery of penthouses and public parks. No, I’m not waiting for some Armageddon in a far off future. I don’t get that luxury. I’m waiting for some night, soon, when the fires have all gone out, and the snow reaches down out of the clouds and pulls me from my body. I’m waiting for when my blankets just aren’t warm enough, when my teeth chatter so hard my whole body quakes. I’m not angry, of course, that my lottery ticket landed me a bit too far from the penthouse and too close to the porta-potty. That’s what Ty Lord wanted. I can only hope that when the end comes, I’ll be dealt a better hand up in heaven.





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