Homeless:

I’m sorry … I’m so sorry.

Jesus! Trippin’ over homeless people every morning! If he would’ve gotten any closer, I would’ve vomited all over that ratty coat he was wearin’. Uggh! Thank God all I can smell is this Old Spice cologne. I can’t for the life of me understand why a professional like me, who works in an office with his name: Mackelroy S. Chinaberry, on his office door, has to share the same space with people like him.

I didn’t mean to bump into you. But I’m kinda glad I did. You wearing Old Spice. Brought back memories; made me homesick. I remember that smell; always kept a bottle of it on my dresser; wore it everyday. Smelling it on you took me back to them days when Mama and me would get all gussied up once’ta week and go to places where we was Mr. and Mrs. ‘stead of just Harriet and Sam. I always made sure to slap on some ‘o that good-smellin’ cologne. Ain’t no need in me feelin’ sad ’bout yestiddy though. Got enough on my plate just dealing with today.

We was almost nose-close, you and me today; the closest you ever been to me and I was too nervous to look at your face. I know I probably upset you even though you didn’t say nuthin’ out loud. But don’t you worry none. I don’t look so good but I find ways to take me a bath everyday.

I’ve got to hurry up and get to this crappy job; running late as usual, but who cares. What are they gonna do, fire me? Hell, I been trying to get fired for the last six months. They can’t seem to take the hint. I’m sick of this routine, nine-to-five crap. Sick of Marjorie too. Can’t really blame her though. She’s doing the best she can. I’m just bored. Bored stupid! My life is a joke and the punchline is I ain’t got no choice but to keep livin’ it. If nuthin’ else than for Mellie’s sake. She deserves a Daddy who sticks around to be there for her. Not disappear like mine did.

Now that you done walked on down the street, I can look at you. You always dress real good; and one day I think I saw a weddin’ ring on your finger. You must be doin’ real good, with a real important job. I wonder do you have any chir’ren. I bet you probably a good husband and father huh? Look like you work a job that can buy you nice clothes so you must be makin’ some money. Fit right in with all the rest o’ them important-looking folks down here. Always wisht I coulda been one o’ them; havin’ a good job that can buy me and my family nice clothes and a nice place to live but … oh well.

Crunchin’ numbers – all day long; it’s all I do. I’m so sick of this. Sometime I wonder what it would be like to be homeless, like that one I bumped into today. What worries does he have everyday? No bills, no family responsibilities and he ain’t got to work through his lunch hour when the numbers don’t add up just right. Okay, so he probably doesn’t have a place to call home and put a bed but hell; this is California! If he slept outside he wouldn’t freeze; the soup kitchens feed him and the shelters always keep their doors open when it rains. Shoot, he’s free and probably don’t even appreciate it. I can’t even eat this dry chicken sandwich without workin at the same time. Thank God lunchtime is over. Time always ice-skates right on by after lunch.

Sometime I wonder how come I ain’t never seen you smile. Well, I don’t ‘spect that you would smile at me. But you never smile at the man selling you a paper, or at the crossing guard. How come? Seem to me, lookin’ so well-to-do like you do, you probably got everything you need in life. But ever since I found you, I ain’t never seen you smile – not goin’ in to work, or leavin’ it. Ain’t you never happy?

Five ‘o clock! Time to get outta here! But it doesn’t matter. Out of one hell and into another one. I wish it was bowling night so I didn’t have to go home. And, damn! There’s that bum again! He’s got that hood on his head, but I can still tell it’s him. Every morning and every night I gotta pass him to get to my car. I’m surprised he hasn’t begged for anything yet. That’s what all of them usually do sooner or later. I’m gonna cross the street.

Oh, I feel so bad right now. I musta spooked you this mornin’ since you walkin’ on the other side and your car is on this side. I’m so sorry; so sorry ’bout alot of things. You leavin’ work and I still don’t see no happiness in your face. I know that’s my fault and I’m sorry. Maybe if I had stuck around, I coulda kept you from being so bitter at life. You was too young to understand – you just turnt five when I left you and your mama. My mind was just startin’ to crack and I didn’t want yall to see me like that. I got medicine now and I done changed. So I know you could never know who I am. And even if you did, I wouldn’t ‘spect you to run up and hug me. I did a dumb thing: left you to figure out how to be a man all by yourself. And even though you don’t know it, you got your revenge. When I got my medicine, they found out I got the big “C.” I ain’t gonna be around much longer. I missed my chance to be your Daddy and it ain’t fair to try and come back to your life now and burden you with me. I been happy just bein’ able to see you every day. But I got one wish: that before I die, I could look in your eyes and have you look in mine. It won’t happen today. But maybe tomorrow ….

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