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'The man on the street'

  • Bridget McFadden
    Bridget McFadden
Published March 18. 2013 05:05PM

He danced down the street to the band playing in his head. The taste of stale, moldy hot dog in his mouth.

His odor was the scent of dumpster. People couldn't be near him for too long due to his strong stench. He wore torn, baggy clothing that didn't match. His face was dirty and his hair in knots. He marched down the sidewalk until he found his usual spot in the park.

I was sitting across from the man while I ate my cupcake and drank my coffee. He was a strange looking man who clearly lost sight of his hopes and dreams. Birds chirped hungrily at my feet, but my eyes were glued on his poor posture and bare feet. I glanced at the children playing in the fountain as I wondered what made this man like this.

Maybe he came from a rich family. He committed murder and his parents cut him off. He moved to New York to escape being found. Now he lives on the street with a new identity. Maybe he married a rich woman that he didn't really love. She found out he was only in it for the money and filed for divorce. He had no degree because he thought he could mooch off of her for the rest of his life. He moved to New York to find work. With no luck, he resorted to living on the street and begging for loose change.

Maybe he was the CEO of a major company in England. He was an awful man to his employees. They all went on strike, leaving him to get the job done himself. The company went bankrupt, due to little work, and everyone lost their jobs. He was ashamed of himself so he fled the country with high hopes to fulfill The American Dream. He decided to live on the street until he figured out his plan. He could possibly be an undercover spy.

I awakened from my daydream, still staring at the man. He stared back at me with a questioning look upon his face. Embarrassed, I quickly looked down at my cupcake, realizing only a bite had been taken.

I know it wasn't any of my concern, and probably rude to ask, but I wanted to know why he was living on the street. I was awfully terrified though. What if he gets offended and hurts me? What if he has a gun? What if he speaks a different language? What if he's a sexual predator? These were all thoughts that ran through my mind.

I finally built up enough courage. "I am going to find out!" I told myself. With each step, I grew less and less confident. My hands were shaking as I approached the old, grimy man. He smiled at me. His teeth were a dark shade of yellow. Many were missing.

"You shouldn't get too close, I need to stay ten feet away from minors." The man said in a scratchy voice. His breath smelt like old ham.

"You won't bite," I replied, "I've been meaning to ask, why do you live on the street." My voice was shaking.

"Believe it or not, you're the first person to ask me that. Well, my parents are rich. I committed a crime that caused problems in our hometown. They made me leave. I changed my identity and married a rich woman, named Rose. I started a company with her money. All the money went to my head and I turned into an awful man. My employees didn't like how I was acting, so they left. My wife divorced me because she found out I only wanted her money. I resorted to living on the street and begging for loose change."

I sat there with my eyes wide in disbelief.

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