Our Hearts

An old nameless vagrant looked over the edge of a bridge, a sea of cars flowing like water in a river. His clothes were stained with their original owner’s history, a story the homeless man would never know though he fantasized about it. He wore his hair clean, unlike many of the others like him, and took pride in what little he had left, the thin strands combed over the beginning signs of baldness.

“Jump,” a man in an all-white suit said.

The old homeless man closed his eyes and climbed over the ledge, feeling the wind on his face, the magical breeze giving life to his worn trench coat.

“You were not meant to be born,” the man in white said.

The vagrant thought about it, realizing how very true it was.

In a distant memory, his mother held him by his hand, guiding him through a large group of people. He was not sure where they were going or what was going on. Then, his mother let go. He panicked and started crying, but he never saw her again.

“You are alone. No one would even notice you were gone.”

His eyes still closed, the homeless man opened his arms and lifted his chin, inhaling the longest breath in his life, the final one.

Just three months before, he had been sitting by a curb. He held no sign and did not ask for money. People walked by, not even acknowledging he was there. His feet ached, having walked nearly 50 miles over the last few days, traveling by the freeway into the big city. He thought it would be different there. In a city as big as this, someone had to care, or so he had thought. He spent one week there, searching for something to give him purpose. He tried to get a job and a place to sleep. He ended up spending five nights under an overpass.

“It’s probably better this way anyway,” the man in the white suit said. “The space you take will be better filled by someone else.”

The homeless man smiled, his decision already made. Pushing his weight forward, he let himself go, but something tugged on his coat, pulling him toward the other direction. He fell two feet backwards and groaned, the cement pushing most of the oxygen out of his lungs. It hurt, and left him coughing in a wild attempt to control his breath.

The man in white was angered. “You will be mine.” He shook his head and walked away into the night.

But as much as the homeless man looked, he could not see who had pulled him back. He only felt a warmth where someone had pulled his coat.