The Old Man

I took to my travels early this morning after another night of being unable to sleep. I began walking in an alley, looking for lose change so I could get a ride on the subway. The Fantalabri is catching up to me and I feel I should leave this city soon. I arrived on one of the main roads when I exited the alley and began cautiously walking down the sidewalk next to the tall buildings. My early morning venture was temporarily slowed down when I was stopped by an elderly man sitting on a street corner. He was sitting against a brick wall clutching a coat and a small cloth bag, a hat sitting upside down next to him; he appeared to be homeless.

"How are you this morning?" I asked him kindly as I stopped to talk to him.

"I'm alive," he said, not even looking me in the eye. I wanted to find out more about him to see if there was anything I could do to make his day better, so I too, sat down beside him against the brick wall that faced an empty intersection.

"You seem a little down today, why is that?" I asked him.

"The last few days have been a struggle," he said, "Every corner I go to, no one ever walks there. I don' even think I eaten a full meal in about a week, maybe two. Last night was exceptionally cold for this time of year and my only coat ain't that warm."

"Don't you have a place you can go at night? I asked him, concerned for his well being, "Don't you have family that you can stay with at night, or a shelter that can keep you warm?"

"I don' like the shelters. They're too damn full at night and there is never a place for me. My nearest family lives ten miles from here, but I don' think they want me takin' their living space anyway. I would just be a burden to them."

"You can't honestly believe that," I told him, "There is one thing I know in this world and that is that you never give up on family because you family will never give up on you. Sure, we all have our ups and downs, but family is the reason we get through them."

The old man gave me a long stare and then turned back to face the ground. "How would you know that when you have it so easy?" he said to me.

"I don't have it easy," I said, "I live by the same struggles you do day in and day out. The only difference is that I have no family anywhere around here, you do." I reached into my pocket and pulled out a large sum of quarters that I had picked up over the last couple days and put then into his hat, "Go get yourself something to eat," I told him.

"You don' have to give me this," The old man told me as I began to walk away.

"I know," I assured him, "That's why I did. You need it more than I do," The man said nothing more after that and I continued on my way. I know I didn't have to give him the money, but even though I am no longer an angel, I still feel obligated to help people. Maybe if I am lucky, the right good deed could help me find my grace.

As I continued walking, I began to think about the old man and what I told him about family, and I now realize that I had lied to him...I never lie...I never could. I never should have said that family doesn't give up on you; after all, mine did, and that's why I'm down here and not up there with them. Maybe it can be good to lie sometimes, after all, having hope in something is better than having no hope in nothing at all.


The End

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