www.whyville.net Dec 18, 2011 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Not Homeless

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While playing in our favorite lot on the outskirts of town one day, an old man passed my friends and I. He looked up at us, with a look no man ever had before, and began again on his stroll throughout the neighborhood. My friends left shortly after, claiming that they were too cold, but I knew exactly what they thought. They thought just like me, that the man was homeless. Our mothers had always taught us that charity is good for one thing -- the social ladder. When there is no one around to see it, it's useless. But it wasn't to me.

Well, I decided to follow them about five minutes after they left. When I caught up we were nearly half way there, and we saw the man again, only he paid no attention to us. He had a nice coat and a winter hat, which was all he seemed to need. Birds flew down to him as if to warn an old friend about what was coming for him. Quickly after, though, they swiftly jumped back into the sky. I wondered to myself how he liked those birds, they were annoying and pesky to me, but he didn't seem to mind.

We walked Todd (one of the two guys that were with me) home, and soon after that, Randy (the other boy). On my way home I encountered this man again. He, just like last time, paid no attention to me. I turned around and walked up to him. He seemed old, wise and talented, yet warm and content.

"Why did you stop to look at us earlier?" I asked out of sincere curiosity.
"It's not often I see someone who reminds me so much of myself."
"I remind you of yourself?"
"No. Someone before you, before I saw you. I just wanted to see if I were hallucinating. I had to see another human face."
"What? It had only been a couple of hours at the most, right?"
"No. The last time I saw someone who looked like me was fifty-four years ago. I remember it dearly, I was looking into my mother's favorite mirror."
"That was you, then." I explained.
"I don't remember."

Strange as he may have seemed then, I felt sorry for the poor guy. Seeing as I only had a dollar in my pocket, I offered it up.

"Would you like my dollar?" I kindly asked.
"A dollar is not what I need."
"You're homeless, right?"

The man looked at me with big gold eyes and took a deep breath, turning back to the trees. He watched the last bird flutter away before answering.

"I'm poor. I don't have a permanent place to live, I go anyplace I like. But I am not homeless."


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