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The Gift

His wrinkled, aging face, had been homeless for the past five years. Watching every morning as the glowing sun rose in the sky, and each night, when the moon and sun traded places. His ragged burlap jacket barely covered his bony arms and his corduroy pants were threadbare and had faded over the years. The skin on his bare feet was cracked, and his collection cup was falling apart. Dirty looks and stares were constantly thrown at him.

A couple years earlier, a little girl, hiding her body behind her mother, gave him a smile, something he didn’t receive often. He watched tourists and locals walk the streets of Shang Hai in designer heels and an overabundance of shopping bags, without a spare second to flash him a smile. He was thrown only a few coins, not nearly enough to support his frail body. Overprotective mothers covered their children’s eyes as they walked past him. In the alcove where he slept, he was always freezing. 

This particular morning when he woke up, he was warmer, with less frost on his scraggly beard. He rolled over and looked to the opposite side of the busy sidewalk. The little girl, from a couple years earlier, was standing there, smiling at him. He looked down at his body and noticed that he was wrapped in a black and cherry red blanket he had never seen. He felt warm. Smiling back at her, he closed his eyes, finally letting his old soul pass on.




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