A Night Alone

June 12, 2017
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I walk through this city, it maybe nine o’clock at night, and the middle of March.
There’s a bit of rain, enough to make me cold, but not enough to smear my glasses.
The smell of gasoline and coffee are mixed in the air, making a pungent scent that I hate.

I walk down 42nd Street, I see people are watching me, judging me.
I can’t really blame them, I’m walking in a dark city with a hoodie, ripped jeans, and a thug’s face.
It’s not my fault I can’t afford those nice suits, or that I can't afford razors to shave the scruff.

I continue on, now on Worchester Avenue, past the old apartment building I called home.
It was never spacious, but it was home, for a time. Even now I remember some good memories.
I smile at the old, slightly decrepit complex. Some lights are on, but a lot of them aren’t. I press on.

9:30, it’s raining a bit heavier now, and I can see my own breath a little, wishing I had warmth.
It’s only a little further… I think, I hope. But where I go there isn’t much hope. It’s depressing.
What they call me, how they see me, is what I know as a “Hobo”. Homeless garbage of the Earth.

At last I reach the abandoned building. The faded “Vacancy Available Here!” sign calls us home.
The building was condemned years ago, but no one ever got around to demolishing it. Thankfully.
Inside the broken walls, light is shining through, the smell of garbage and smoke faintly present.

As I walk inside, I see barrel fires alight, at least six different ones. I see about thirty people.
They’re all around the fires, drying off from the rain, sharing stories and food scraps, laughing.
It’s not great, each day is a struggle, but it is home. A faint smile across my face.

Across the way, I see two people, not basking in the embers, shivering. A woman and her child.
I look as the woman holds her, crying. She’s new. I can always tell the new ones. They’re scared.
I walk up to her, I was there once, I know it hurts. I put my hand on her shoulder, she didn’t look.

Her child looks at me, she couldn't be older than five years old, and she was crying too.
I offer a sincere smile, and the offer her my blanket for the day. I’m thanked by her silent voice.
She isn’t strong right now, but she will be. We all start weak, but these struggles temper us.

There isn’t much hope here, but we gain solace together. There’s something here everyone finds.
It might be strength, many of us find that. Some find compassion, some camaraderie. All good.
Me? I hope a family, a family that always changes, but a family nonetheless.

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