I ran until my lungs were burning. I stopped at a park and sat on a bench to collect my thoughts and my breath. Groaning, I covered my face. I should have known better. Of course he would still have feelings for one of his exes. It was stupid of me to believe him.
I glared at the ground. How can you have feelings for one woman while still attached emotionally to another?
It was late, around seven, and I was tired. Using my duffle bag as a pillow, I lay out on the bench and closed my eyes.
"That's my bench." I opened one eye to see an old man glaring at me. Not in the mood to argue, I moved to another one. "That's also my bench."
I stood up and clenched my fists. "Listen, mister," I snapped. "I've had a shitty day and I'm not in the mood. You and I both know that's not how this works! Now get on that damn bench and shut up!"
He glared at me but threw himself on the bench.
"What crawled up your ass and died?" he grumbled as I got comfortable.
Then it started to rain. I groaned and got under the bench to lay down, hearing the old man do the same. That's how this worked. When it rained, you got cover wherever you could. I got on my right side and my body immediately went back to what it knew. My right arm extended up as my pillow while the other put the duffle bag in front of me. It acted as both protection from the wind and from anyone who tried to act on any desire to pick my pocket.
I drifted into an uneasy sleep, shivering. It had been almost two months since I was out in the rain like this and even longer since I had slept in it. I did my best, though, and tried not to think about the look on Artemis' face as he held that girl's hand.
I woke to the feeling of someone pulling on my duffle bag. I opened my eyes. The old man was trying to take it. I kicked him, my foot colliding with the side of his head.
"Bitch!" he yelled, stumbling away.
I shook my head. I wasn't stupid. I didn't pack anything valuable; just some clothes and pads. I tried to get back to sleep but it was pointless. The clock in the center of the square chimed three in the morning. It was as good a time as any to move.
It had stopped raining and I shouldered my bag as I walked down the street. I wasn't sure where to go. I definitely didn't want to go to the coffee shop; not until I was sure this whole engagement shit was over. It shouldn't take them too long to find a new girl.
My feet took me to the kitchen and I got in line, looking down. A bitter wind swept around us. I had forgotten my jacket. It was November now and that was a stupid move on my part. The doors opened at 5 and we all made our way in.
"I haven't seen you in a while!" the nice woman behind the counter said. "Where's your mom?"
"Went to work early," I lied and hurried off before she could ask anything else.
I sat where I could see the TV. It was on the news this morning and I was pleased that they weren't running any stories about me and Artemis. A few of my fellows kept looking at me. I knew they recognized me. I kept my eyes downcast.
"What are you doing here?" a cold voice asked. I looked up but didn't recognize the person in front of me. "Shouldn't you be with that rich family?"
"Please just leave me alone," I whispered, returning to my mediocre breakfast.
I had forgotten how small they were....
"You know, a lot of us aren't too happy to see you here," the person continued, leaning towards me with a leer on his face, showing yellow teeth.
"Sorry to hear that."
"All you're doing is rubbing it in our faces."
"Not my intention," I mumbled, my heart pounding in my chest.
When had I gotten so timid and weak?
Suddenly, my tray went flying. I sighed wearily as those nearest went for what was left.
"I wasn't done with that."
"I don't give a shit!" he yelled and a few of the other homeless people started to gang up on me. "Get out of here! You don't belong here!"
"What's going on?" The woman that served me had come over. She looked around at us and my tray on the floor. "Well? I someone going to answer me?"
"Just clumsy," I said and left, tears falling down my face.
I gripped the strap on my bag tightly, wincing at the wind. I wiped my tears away; they just made my face hurt even more. The streets were starting to get crowded as people headed for work. A lot of them bumped into me. In a way, that was a good thing. It meant they didn't see me as Artemis Kilgore's new girl.
I was just another nameless, homeless person.
I spent the night in a different park under some picnic tables. It was freezing out and ice pelted from the sky. I was shivering, wrapping my arms as tight around my body as I could. I had put on all of my clothes for extra layers but it wasn't working. Someone was walking around, calling my name. Figuring it was just my imagination, I buried my face into my duffle bag and tried to sleep.
I didn't go back to the soup kitchen the next morning. Instead, I wandered the park, hoping someone would take pity on me. My hair was a mess and I tried to tame it. No one even stopped to look at me. I sighed and found a bench to sit on. I looked around, trying to remember where I was but my mind was too exhausted from lack of sleep and food to think straight.
The sidewalks were slick with ice and I slipped several times. I didn't realize how miserable living like this could be when you didn't have someone to spend the time with. No wonder those people at the kitchen would always complain. They didn't have anyone to talk to except for breakfast and dinner at the kitchen.
I ran a hand under my nose. The cold was starting to get the best of me. My nose was runny and I kept coughing. I took a break just outside of Downtown and people would take their kids and hurry around me. I watched them with dull eyes, wondering if they knew how lucky they were in their warm jackets and the love of their family.
I shivered violently and let my feet take me wherever they wanted to go. I was slowly losing any care of where I was or what would happen to me. All I could think about was Artemis and how stupid I had been.
A familiar green truck drove by but I dismissed it. When you're in Downtown, everyone's car started looking familiar. I laughed weakly. Maybe it's a pimp looking for his next woman. At least I'd be warm.
I was getting tired as the sun began to set and yawned. My feet turned at a random corner. I closed my eyes as another gust of bitter wind cut through my clothes and into my skin. I started to cry.