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Homeless at Christmas

by Josiah T.

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Josiah T. on December 16, 2007
"This is loosely based on a begger I saw when I was in the Philippines three and a half years ago. It was the middle of the summer then, not Christmas. I didn't give her anything. I wish I had. I may make this into a two part series..."

Homeless On Christmas

I look around me. I see people walking here and there, carrying bags and packages. It's Christmas time, but I have nothing.

I stand at the street corners on some days. Occasionally a sympathetic passer-byer will drop a coin at my feet. Once someone even dropped a $10 bill. That lasted a few days. It's Christmas time. So many people are so rich, but I have nothing.

Some days I stop by the local soup kitchen to beg a meal and socialize with others of my rank. But today the kitchen is closed. All the staff are either on vacation or sick. A few others like me stand at the door looking in, hoping for a light to come on and someone to open the door. It's Christmas time. Some people have so much to eat, but I have nothing.

I wander down the street away from the soup kitchen. It begins to snow. I try to wrap my thin blanket around my tattered jacket tighter, but it does little good. A lady walks by with a soft, fur coat and a warm hat. Some children run by playing. Their mothers have bundled them up warmly. I shiver and walk faster. It's Christmas time. So many people are warm and dry, but I am left to wander about in the cold, snow and rain. I have nothing.

Is there no one in the whole world who will help a poor begger such as I? I too am a human, contrary to what everyone seems to believe. People who've never seen me stare and gawk, while those who have seen me walk by with never a glance nor pitying gaze. Some people have all the world, but I have nothing.

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Josiah T. on December 17, 2007
"Yeah, I decided to continue this. "

Homeless at Christmas II

I throw aside the newspaper and start looking for a place that might be reasonably warm. Walking down an alley, I spot a chimney that stands next to a building.

The furnace must be in the basement, because the chimney is warm near the ground. I wrap my blanket tighter, and curl up in the corner between the chimney and the building. I'm warmer there than I've been in days.

I dig around in my pocket for the hunk of dried bread I saved yesterday. I find it and take it out. I'm careful eating it. It's so hard that my teeth hurt at the first bite.

The little light that is left begins to fade. As it does so, the wind begins to pick up, howling through the alley. I try to make myself as small as I can next to the chimney.

I wake up to find a light dusting of snow on and around me. The chimney is now cold, but the nook that I'm in still offers a little respite from the cold wind that is still blowing. Except now it's blowing snow everywhere, swirling in and about the alley, blowing to and fro, even in my nook.

I stand up and shake the snow off my blanket. I beging to feel a sneeze welling up in my nose, and soon it explodes out, the noise echoing around the alley.

A light switches on in a window just above my head. A woman sticks her head out the window and screams "Get away from my house!"

I move away as fast as I can before more lights turn on.

I turn down another alley, hoping to find another chimney that I can sleep against.

I don't find another chimney, but I do find the laundromat. I push open the door. It's warm inside, and I curl up on a bench and fall asleep.

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