The cardboard said “Homeless, please help with ANYTHING you can. GOD bless”. It grabbed my attention right away…not because we don’t see enough of these cardboards around us, but it seemed to be floating in the darkness. I was almost convinced it was hanging in the air by itself when I saw the dark hand that was holding the cardboard…not dark-skinned, but different kind of dark…dark that is a result of eight long years living in streets.
I pulled a packet from my bag and handed it to him. He wasn’t too eager to speak. Perhaps he was tired. Or cold. He did mention it was cold, but I caught myself on the thought that it was one of the warmest and sunniest days. Or maybe he was too engulfed in the book he was reading.
Books are always great ice breakers!
“What are you reading?”
“It is a sequel to …”
I cannot recall the name of the book because it was not why I was here. I had questions boiling in my head, questions to which I was trying to find answers.
But I continued with the ‘ice-breaker’.
“So, did you read the first one?”
He answered in short.
The time had come, a voice in my head was telling me. I gathered my whole courage and finally asked the question.
“How did you end up…how did you become…” I tried to be polite but failed at every attempt of it. Thankfully he finished my sentence…
“Homeless?…well bad decisions in life”.
He refused to continue. All I could do was to guess from the list of possible bad life decisions. What had the most dramatic impact on me was this… he didn’t put blame on other people but himself.
He lowered his head to continue reading.
I felt it was the right time to leave.