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Back On Track

By , Eugene, OR

I took a deep breath. I had blinked fourteen times before I realized that it had happened again. I had to think to myself what I had done wrong. I had found a bed sheet about a week ago that is supposed to belong on those beds that are called a king size. It never occurred to me why they were called that, but I had went with it. I had had a king sized sheet, that's all that mattered. I had also found some rope that was left by some trees. Yeah, you know what I did. Don’t kid yourself. I tied that rope to that king sized sheet and made a hammock to sleep in, in the night before. I never once thought about me falling out. All I cared about that night was that I was sleeping somewhere besides the crunchy leaves beneath my feet that caused me to be brown and sticky due to the mud when I would wake up the next morning. Why did I blink fourteen times? Because that was my fourteenth attempt to find a nice place to get sleep. It didn't work too well. It was clear because of the same brown, sticky, muddy goo that was all over me from my head to my big toe nail, front and back. I may have a concussion but who cares. I’m homeless, nobody cares that's the point. I remember looking to my left only to see a scraggy old man with a hat the shape of a can on top of his head, skin tight slacks down to his clunky boots, and a sleek jacket with all sorts of badges on it. I could care less what he had to say so I stood up and left.


“Excuse me sir!” screamed to the man that looked like a cone head.


“I am no sir. My name is Asher and you need to leave me alone. I’m homeless and you don’t care about me anyways” I screamed back.


Not only does he not care about me, I didn’t care about him. He probably has a house the color of the sky on a sunny Oreogn day in April, a nice beautiful wife that makes him grommet dinners every night, but he doesn't know what I have...which is absolutely nothing. Instead of helping me he decided to scream at me to get out. Get out of where cone head! I have nowhere to go! It is whatever. I have to move on and find my little hole to stay in just as a mouse would do.


I had to keep trying to make things better for my body. Things such as finding water streams to drink from, soft leaves instead of dry crunchy ones that might cut my skin like a piece of paper would. I strive for these things everyday. Instead of wondering what grade I’m going to get on the paper I turn in like most college kids would do, I worry if I will be able to find water and food. Will I have to kill a fish with my bare hands, or not have food or water? Everyday is a mystery. Sometimes I surely do wish life was as easy as a homeless mouse. It is either life or death for them. Me, it's find food or painfully rot away and feel every little cell in my body die.
As a homeless man, we do nothing all day. All we do is search for help and pray nothing bad happens to us. I hadn’t been feeling great, but I tried to focus on the good things in life. Walking through the forest that looked like every single forest in Oregon, green. That's all there is here is just green leafy trees and fresh air that flows through your lungs and makes them feel at bliss. I had always thought to myself what would happen if I got caught. But caught for what? Trying to survive? It was a nightly struggle of finding a spot in the woods that would keep me healthy and safe while I had my eyes closed all night.


The catch is, is I didn’t survive. My knee was the size of a volleyball, I had the chills but would also become so hot it was like I was in a leafy Oregon forest, but it was all on fire, and I couldn’t move my body. My body had felt like clay that had dried out and was going to crack everytime I would move. Although it didn’t, I was worried that's what was going to happen because I didn't know what was going on. Everyday had brought a new challenge. All I can remember is being forced to set up camp. I wasn’t forced by a person, but rather I was forced by nature and my body, and a tic. Lymes disease they call it. I only learned that because I am now stationed in the hospital. I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know how to receive it. The only reason I am in the hospital now is because I just about got kicked out by a park ranger, until I had to scream at them that I could not move. After a long hour of me showing them my cuts, my bruises, my knee that had been the size of a volleyball, and my treacherous symptoms, they finally called for help. I think after all of that, I had passed out because all I remember is hearing the squealing sirens of the ambulance and the trees swaying side to side with the wind brushing across my ears making my little hairs stand tall. Right now, as far as I know, I did everything I could have done which was receive help from someone. I was so helpless that I turned selfish. I didn’t want anyone’s help or warm hearts to help me up when I needed it most. I was so sure I could help myself since being a bum was all my fault. I had to pick myself back up, but life doesn’t always turn out the way you want. With laying in multiple forests and not having a sensitized surface to sleep on, I was exposed to every disease you could ever get in a grassy area. With my luck, a tick attached to me and gave me something that was deadly. If I never would have passed out, I wouldn’t be here now because the people wouldn’t have been worried since I was just another homeless man “on the streets”. I am truly thankful for the people that helped me to the hospital because I am now able to realize what I want in life. I can get a job, that doesn't pay much, but it sure pays enough for me to have food, water, and pay rent with a small cost at a house that was found with the help of my doctors at the hospital. I was giving up on life, but with the help of others, I am now back on track.






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