Waiting for Tomorrow

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I sit back, leaning against the bakery wall. It’s almost seven, the time that the shop opens. I’m tired, but soon it will be time to head to the streets. For now, I sit on a soon-to-be-full table, next to the racks with loaves of bread dough piled high.
Frankie comes in and taps me on the shoulder, the flour on his clothes making a hazy white cloud. He says apologetically, “It’s time to go, Tony”. He silently hands me a half-loaf of bread and with that I make my way towards the door and the frigid, blustery winter day. I don’t want to go out, to face the cold, to be hit by the sharp airs of truth, to get slapped with condescending looks. But I have to, so I do.
I wonder, sometimes, what passerby see in me, as they drive by in their plush, heated, luxury cars. What doe s the world think of me, a young vagabond out on the sidewalk corner? Perhaps they are sad for my predicaments, or pitying. However, most just don’t want to see. Nobody wants to risk a fight with fate, for then they might end up like me. Nobody wants to see the hard stuff. Nobody wants to change their ways and help others who need it. So they don’t.
And I suffer from it. I hate it, this feeling low and people treating me like I’m dirt. When I’m out on the corner with my sign, people only see what I don’t have, or they forget that they just passed a human being altogether. These bitter thoughts bring me back to how it all started two years ago, the bully and his minions buzzing around me like a swarm of angry wasps, their comments not hurting until there are too many. Once they have insulted me far too much, I do what I can.
I fight, letting all of my hot-headedness and anger leak out of my head. I am finally telling them what I have always wanted to say to them, what they don’t understand. They do not talk about my parents. My mother left after I was born, and my father doesn’t care much, one way or the other. A few months ago, he got into jail. Turns out, he hasn’t paid his taxes for years. Nobody knew that I was alone, and I intended to try to keep it that way. My strong-willed fighting nature got the best of me, though.
Frankie, my parents’ best man, talked to the lawyers who wanted to press charges against me, and they made a deal. He’d give me a place to rest at night, some food, and make sure I didn’t get into trouble. I heard them, one night, while I was eavesdropping, “It’ll be fine. The kid doesn’t have anything anyway”. I recoiled at the memory.
I drift off into my thoughts, until a noise jars me back into reality. A few gangly teenagers shout out the window, grinning. They are grinning at my fate, grinning at their parents, grinning at the world. Their families’ lavish lifestyles allow them to never grow up. I wish I had that luxury.
I stuff my hands into the frayed pockets of my threadbare, too-thin jeans, and wait. Soon they will pass. In the meantime, I have some of the hard bread which I got from Frankie. Though it’s not much, for a while, it sort of helps. I still have about two hours left for tonight. I sit, with my sign, on the curb, waiting. A few years ago, I was so naïve, I enjoyed being young. Now I know better.
The passing of time is my occupation—it’s what I do, any nobody knows it better than I. it is something to grimly celebrate, and watch as the hours turn to minutes turn to days. It, along with night, is my life now. It’s time to head in for the day. Soon, I will be of age. Soon, I can do what I want, or legally work with Frankie, instead of being kept outside like a mangy rat. Soon, I’ll be desperate. I walk into the shop as Frankie is closing down for the night. One day is over, with many more to come. We share some bread, and then I go to bed, one word echoing in my head. Soon pounds a relentless rhythm in my mind, as I wait until night once again turns to day.





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