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IRJ-CP#6 September 22, 2009

Posted by andrewg2013 in Creative Piece.

Against all Odds: Like Any Other Day

Like any other day, I woke up, strolled around, and then stood at the corner with my sign, ‘Unemployed with no place to sleep’. I stood there until lunch time and then went into the park. It was April 1st, and the third year in a row that nothing special had happened to me. When I was younger, nobody could forget that today was my birthday. Now I have no one that would remember. My view of life was askew, and as I thought about this, I knew nothing would change for a while.

Two years before, my first birthday on the streets: I woke up, strolled around, and then stood at the corner with my sign, ‘Without a job, need help please’. I had been out for almost two months and my expression was deadpan. I was fired the month before right at the beginning of the economic downturn. Thousands were losing their jobs.

My second birthday on the streets: I woke up, strolled around, and then stood at the corner with my sign, ‘No food, no money, no shelter, please help’. I have now been allocated by the city to a specific spot, and every day I watched people and felt like I walked among them. I recognized people and their daily routines.

That third year, I guised myself in an old suit after my lunch hour. I used this as a façade so that people wouldn’t think ugly of me when they passed. I hated the feeling that people would think contemptibly of me just because I don’t have a job.

It was about 5:30 when a large SUV stopped at the light next to me. I aimed my sign at it. Someone in a dark hat rolled down the window and I walked toward it. In my first few months, I would be cautious of the open window because of the consternation that I would get hurt or killed. After three years though, I didn’t think anything can get worse than it already was. I was wrong.

The man picked up something next to him and threw it at me. I stumbled back as he drove away. I picked up the faded yellow paper envelope that looked so formidable laying on the cement in front of me, and I slid open the slit at the top. I pulled out a stack of dollars rubber banded together. On top of the first dollar bill, there was a note. I decided I’d read that later. I flipped through the stack and surprised myself when I found that every note but the top one was a twenty.



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