Sunday, August 17, 2014

Home for the Homeless

     The light turned red, so I drove up to the crosswalk. I had the windows down, and country music lightly floated out from my tiny red sporty car and into the urban environment. On the meridian on my left an elevated strip of packed dirt supporting a row of drought-dry trees which somehow still managed to provide a canopy of shade with their sun-bleached leaves a tan, white woman in her mid-thirties, a magenta tank top, loose shorts, and flip flops, casually held up a rectangle of cardboard with the words: Need money. I live on the streets. She wore her semi-disheveled dark hair in a pony tail. She wasn't pitiful or downcast, but pretty much nonchalant like a person spacing out while waiting in line at the grocery store. My mom, sitting in the passenger seat, handed me a twenty. "I don't have any ones," she shrugged.
    I drew my hand out the window, and the woman turned toward me with a thankful expression. When she looked at the bill now in her hand, she let out an audible gasp. "Are ya kidding?" she replied. "I just started! And I already got a twen-y?"
    "Today's your lucky day, I guess," I conversed.
    She beamed and put the bill in her pocket, laughing. "I guess it is!" She rested her hand over her heart. "Oh, thank God! This is going to last me a while!" The light was still red, so the woman and I exchanged kind of awkward but casual small talk.
    "I hope you don't get too hot out here!" I said. It was eighty-something degrees outside.
    "Nah, it's shady here! That's why I picked this spot." The light turned green and my mom nudged me to get my attention back on the road.
     Continuing on the same road, I passed by two more homeless citizens, an African-American man in camouflage pants with an American flag by his side with a sign which read: Veteran, and a white man with a grey, straggly beard sitting dangerously close to oncoming traffic on a median covered with cobble stones, and banging his fist in the air in a schizophrenic-manner. Each one of them made a home in the middle of the road, their roofs the sky, their floors a median.

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