So I recently saw a video online that shot me right through the heart, both as a parent and as someone who used to work with children like this…
When we see so many people homeless in the city, it’s easy to walk on by and do nothing. I myself have been guilty of it countless times. It wears on me because I know that I can’t help everyone. I donate what time and money I can, but even that is not enough.
I remember when I was younger though, I knew a woman who would have given the shirt off of her back for the asking. We were hanging out in Boston one day when she saw a homeless man on the street corner. It moved me so much that I eventually added it as part of one of my books. So I’ll share this excerpt with you all now as a reminder to remember those less fortunate and in serious need.
(From Magnifica: Tears of the Fallen, Chapter III)
Lia’na smiled as they turned left out of Cheers. Toby and Lia’na walked up Beacon Street past several old brown stone buildings. They crossed River Street a moment later and were ready cross Beacon Street to get to the bike when Lia’na’s ears picked up a sad sound.
A decrepit old man was sitting in his own squalor on the corner. His clothes were tattered and filthy and it looked like the only thing of value he owned was his cane. Dirt covered his face, but Lia’na could still make out the pain in his eyes.
The man raised his hand and pleaded his case every time someone passed by, “Spare change for the homeless, please help us get something to eat?”
Lia’na stared at him for a moment. A look of sadness came over her and a tear formed in her right eye. Most of the people who walked by just ignored the man like they didn’t see him. Others crossed the street at another point to avoid dealing with him or even acknowledging that he existed. It was more than Lia’na could bear and it broke her heart.
Toby put his hand gently on her shoulder, “Come on, we should go.”
“No.” Lia’na replied in a stern voice, pushing his hand off.
Her eyes darted up and down the street for a moment. Toby wasn’t certain what she was looking for until her eyes caught a black and gold sign across Charles Street from where they were standing. It was a Starbucks and they appeared to be open.
Lia’na waited for the light to turn red and darted across the street before Toby could say anything. She disappeared inside the coffee house for a moment before reappearing with a wrapped sandwich and a bottle of juice. What is she doing? Toby thought to himself.
She came back across to the corner of Beacon and Charles Street and knelt down next to the old man, “Sir, piele take these.”
The man looked at the food for a moment before grabbing them from Lia’na’s hands. He tore open the sandwich and greedily began eating. Between bites he looked up at Lia’na, “Bless you child!”
Toby stood there watching for a few moments before fishing through his pockets until he wrapped his fingers around a five dollar bill. He pulled it out and knelt down next to Lia’na, “There are a couple of nearby shelters, use this to get to one of them and find yourself a warm place to sleep.”
The man looked at Toby for a moment before accepting the money, “I will, thank you.”
The man horded what little was left of the sandwich into his pocket and stood up. He didn’t speak another word as he took off down the street as fast as his legs would carry him. Lia’na watched for a few moments until the city engulfed him and he was no longer visible.
Toby put his hand on Lia’na’s shoulder once again. She turned to him, smiled, and nodded, “Lien ni, I know you went against your better judgment in doing that for me, but I’m glad you did.”
Toby nodded, “Well by the time I figured out what you were doing, I thought I might as well play along.”
Lia’na looked at Toby apologetically, “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t stand seeing that. Watching someone suffer like that… hurts, but we can go now.”
Toby nodded and led Lia’na across the street to the bike. The look of sadness on her face had been replaced with content. Toby really didn’t want to ruin that for her as he knew her intentions were good, but she needed to know what could have happened, “Lia’na, I know you meant well by what you did, but you may have put yourself in danger by helping that man. You don’t know if he was right in the head or armed. Also, what do you think he’s going to do with the $5 I gave him? Most likely he’ll go buy a nip of booze with it.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Lia’na replied, “it was the right thing to do, and I can tell from your eyes that you agree with me.”
Toby shrugged, “Maybe…”
Lia’na smiled at Toby as they continued walking, “You know the city a lot better than I do, Toby, and maybe I can be a little naive, but I can’t stand seeing someone suffer like that. The sound of suffering and pain resonates like the sound of the forest, but unlike the forest, that sound is agonizing. If the price of doing the right thing is being deceived now and then… well then call me a fool.”
Toby smiled at her, “That’s why I love you. You have a kind heart, but next time will you tell me what you’re doing beforehand?”
Lia’na nodded, “It’s a deal, ta arshana.”
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I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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Catch you on the flip side!