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Perhaps a Person

The shutter their eyes as they pass, their polished shoes stepping past. They carry briefcases, their over-stuffed purses, their coffee, their meals which are gulped down without a prayer. When they pass, they pretend I am nothing but part of the bench I lay upon. They ignore the fact my hands are empty and my stomach is unfed. Perhaps they are right that I am part of the bench. Perhaps I am nothing at all.

No bar of soap, I’m sure, could scrub out the dirt on my once white shirt. My socks attract bugs, but I own them. Therefore, they must be kept.

I am inside a fish tank, watching the world without being able to touch it. The sounds around me are muffled, the things: a blur.

It has been three, maybe four, days since I have declared this bench mine. Before, I had found rest inside a cove of trees, the place nest to where parents would read or walk along the path as their children took over the playground. It rained gold the time a half-eaten picnic basket was forgotten. There in the park, I didn’t even mind the morning dew, but I knew I should get move on. I couldn’t convince myself to do it, though. I schemed in my head; I urged myself, but I was sewn to the blades of grass. When a couple dog walkers pointed and whispered, a police man was soon to come. He was the one to rip the seams – but quite rudely. The police man stood above me, wearing a bulky uniform with weapons decorating his belt.

“I am not allowed on the streets. I am not permitted in a public park. Where then?”

“Not here,” he said. “I’m not going to have children being scared and people’s well-being threatened.”

I was slid out of the park, so I went back to the streets. I sat against a wall, observing the snobby people. A foolish hobo slinked into a gas station, offering the bench he was on for claim. I jumped at it, and that’s where I still am. Movements are only to set my cup to collect water droplets and switch positions when I grow numb. The breaths I take are shallow, for my heart feels like it’s shivering inside of me. My ragdoll arms feel my ribs. Shrinking bones and little fat portrays me as nothing but a skeleton sheeted with skin. Men jog through the streets so they may rid of their fat, but gaining enough wait without stealing is like swimming in the lava in the earth’s core. Bread costs money; exercise is free.

My eyes dart to the squirrel twitching at the bench leg. He cracks a nut, swirling through it with his teeth.

“You come here uninvited and fail to share?” I say, scanning the city. There are no food-growing trees, only plain fenced-in ones lining the sidewalks. “Leave, you thief. Intruder! This is my bench!”

The rodent leaps away, and life drifts still again. I stare at the clouds overhead.

Some would think my life’s a waste, but, really, whose isn’t? People use their life eating through money they hate working for. If my life be sleeping outside and starving rather than tapping a calculator, so be it.

Life is pointless. There’s nothing special about nobody’s. Every day, we wake up, complain and wait for something, go to sleep, and eventually die. Why be given a heart if it’s going to be unappreciated and then fail?

These people don’t belong to Tanerson like I do. It’s more of my home than theirs. I am the only one who knows the shade of the Jen’s Fashion sign matches the sky every sunrise. I am the only one who notices, when the mayor walks by, that his socks don’t match his shoes. I belong to Tanerson as much as Tanerson belongs to everyone else!

I


Deserve




Respect.

I lean into the bench and relax into a position, keeping dead still like tree branches before a tornado. I am part of the bench. Then again, maybe I was right; maybe the people are right: Perhaps I am nothing at all.




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