For the Protagonize Winter Challenge-
The Christmas story of a homeless man named Chris and how his life is forever changed by the kindness of one person.
"Some money for the homeless?" I asked a passing man, a tin cup in my extended hand. The man didn't hesitate before he kicked the can out of my hand and walked away, leaving my hand throbbing and the few coins sprawled out across the sidewalk.
"Well Merry Christmas to you too, sir!" I shouted sarcastically after him. I got up to my knees and began collecting the change from the sidewalk, people in warm coats and hats dodging out of my way so they wouldn't have to touch my filthy trenchcoat.
When I had everything together, I sat back down at the restuarant's door. I had been sleeping in front of the back door of the Italian restaruant, Amilio's, for the past week and a half. So far, they hadn't booted me away. I had even managed to steal some of the table scraps they threw in the dumpster. I was perfectly content as a homeless person could be in this situation.
But I wanted more. I hadn't slept in a bed for 8 months, not since my wife and I divorced and she kicked me out onto the streets of Brooklyn, not a penny to my name. She and our daughter, Casey, had since moved out of town, possibly out of the state. After what I had done, I couldn't really blame her.
It was a few years ago that I had lost all of our money. I used to be a successful businessman, renouned by top companies. But I had a drinking problem, and our millions of dollars only fed to my addiction. I got tremendously drunk one day, after a long and hard meeting with three of my superiors. I took the family car to Atlantic City. And there I realized I also had a gambling problem. But I realized this issue too late, and soon I had spent the entire amount of our life savings.
My wife and my retirement fund, my daughter's college savings, everything. Surely we would have gone into debt, but my wife and I were divorced before I could face the consequences of my actions.
So here I was. Begging for petty money on the streets of Brooklyn.
My thoughts were interrupted when a small girl approached me, dressed in a warm-looking red coat and long brown hair. She smiled at me and held out a green bill. My eyes widened at the 20 dollars falling into my cup.
I barely managed to choke out, "Thank you," before the child's mother was towing her away. The money was warm in my hand and seemed to fill my body with hope. I sighed, feeling a load of pressure realeased from my shoulders.