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The Little Things

By , Wilmington, NC
Kameryn pulled the ends of her scarf a little tighter and zipped up her fleece jacket, but after living in New York City all her life, she knew that having a red nose, numb toes, and a feeling of bitter cold all over was inevitable in the winter. Even so, December was her favorite time of year; all of the store windows were decorated, Christmas music was playing everywhere, and tourists with excitement in their eyes filled the streets. Kameryn was absorbing all of this on her walk home from school, but the harshness of the weather beat out her desire to look at her surroundings, so she ran into the nearest coffee shop for shelter and hot chocolate. It was unusually empty except for an elderly man sitting in the corner of the cafe. Kameryn sympathetically looked at the man for a moment, noticing the slouch in his back and the shaking in his hands when he picked up his drink. She then went to order a drink of her own, but was stopped mid-order when the man started coughing uncontrollably. Kameryn immediately approached him, but at that point the coughing had slowed. "Sir, are you alright?" Kameryn questioned. "Yes, yes I am quite alright," responded the man, his cheeks growing redder in color. With that, he slowly brought himself to a standing position and walked out. After he was gone, the barista spoke to Kameryn. "He's been in here for hours; I didn't have the heart to make him leave, not a guy his age and not in this weather." Kameryn nodded, then spotted a raggedy leather wallet on the table the man had been sitting at. She put it in her pocket and raced out the door, hoping to catch up with him. Sure enough, the old man was not able to travel very far, and Kameryn was able to give him his wallet back. The man looked Kameryn in the eyes for a few seconds, nodded, and continued on his way.

Two years later, December had come back once more, and this year, it had started snowing heavier and earlier than usual. This made walking a chore, so Kameryn was taking the subway for even the shortest of distances. There were always homeless people on the subways; they would ride them all day to stay out of the cold. This day was no different, and when Kameryn got on the subway to head home once more, she saw a few men and women with dirty faces and tattered clothes sitting nearby. One in particular caught her eye. She went up and sat next to this person, which seemed to startle him. When she spoke, he seemed even more surprised. "Excuse me, I was just wondering if you remembered me from the coffee shop a couple years back? I doubt you would, but I found your wallet, and..." Kameryn realized mid-story that there was no reason this man SHOULD remember her. "Yes, yes, how could I forget?" responded the man in a crackly voice. "There was something you forgot that day too." He handed her the coffee that was in his hand and Kameryn looked him with a confused expression, so then he spoke again. "You never did get your drink you know."





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