I’m so glad fall is finally here! It’s been cold and rainy, and I think the leaves are going to start to change color soon. Tomorrow is also my birthday! It feels weird turning 23, but I’m excited, nonetheless. School’s been going really well despite the workload. I feel like every time I put a book down, I have another one to read, on top of writing, blog posts, and reactions to everyone’s stories. But I’m getting through it. It’s intimidating, but I’m making the most of it. I’m finally starting to feel “old,” but thankfully I’m one of–if not–the youngest people in the program. Makes me feel better that I have the potential to grow just like all the other students that are also teachers and writers. I often think of this quote for motivation:
Anyways, this story is coming from a prompt I found online. It’s been a while since I’ve given you guys some original work. I’ll try to make up for it. The prompt: Write from the perspective of someone with no money to buy food. Enjoy.
Today was the first cool day of fall. Of course it had to rain, too. Nature’s way of getting things back under control. Summer this year, again, was the hottest one to date. Probably the driest as well. Every day was oppressive, especially down in the subways, or in Penn Station at rush hour. I stayed over by the water thinking the breeze would help but all the breeze did was blow the hot air around like a convection oven.
I wasn’t prepared for rain. The cold went straight to my bones. No fat to cushion the blow. I used the rest of my reserves in a last ditch effort to find some temporary work. I was hoping all the young people would quit their jobs to go off to school, but I forgot how expensive living in the city is. Even those born with a silver spoon in their mouth’s couldn’t afford to send their kids away. But there was nothing. No bodegas, no dishwashers, no janitors, no delivery guys.
No one needed, or wanted, help. Well, my help, at least. Who could blame them? I haven’t shaved in weeks. I don’t look dirty, but everyone knows. I’m a creature of habit. I tend to stay in the same spots. I only move when the police tell me to. Most understand my situation. I choose the nicer areas because they’re safer, but the nicer areas, as well all know, are filled with certain types that would rather see me dead than on their corner slaving away for change. Luckily, the owner of a gym in SoHo lets me shower before he opens his doors. Gyms open early, so I have to make a point of getting up. If I’m not there by five, he won’t let me in. I don’t mind, though. I need the motivation and structure to keep myself sane. I still believe in time. I won’t ever turn to drugs and waste away the days. Every time the sun comes up, another opportunity is waiting for me to take a hold of it. I just have to find it, and be ready when I do.
I don’t think about how I ended up here, on Hudson Street. It’s nothing dramatic. They had a new vision on how to run things and felt that I didn’t fit in. My wife, on the other hand, had a different opinion. She was embarrassed. Her parents had so much money, they didn’t know what to do with it. And yet, they couldn’t help out. It suddenly ran dry. That apartment on the Upper West Side put the nail in the coffin. Instead of helping, they brainwashed her. They told her I was no good, that she didn’t deserve to be with anyone like me. I couldn’t just find another job in the field, either. I had connections, but they all knew I was on the way out. I was a pioneer in the field, but the nature of the field is one that evolves day by day. There comes a point where you can’t keep up.
There is a silver lining, though. First world problems no longer exist. Everything I do has a consequence. If I wake up late by ten minutes, I don’t shower. If I don’t shower, and it’s hot out, I smell, which means I don’t make as much money from sorry tourists. If I don’t have money, I can’t eat. If I can’t eat, I can’t move because I’m too tired. It becomes a vicious cycle. If I wake up on time, I shower, I eat, I feel good, and I go around looking for jobs. I always keep a resume on me. Plus, on a natural level, when you wake up early, you get to see what’s left of the natural world. Sunrises, untouched snow in Central Park, birds chirping. For a second, you’re no longer trapped by the luxury high rises and blaring taxi cabs screaming down the streets.
On the way to the gym, through the now-pouring rain, I stumble upon a soup kitchen. Right off the bat, my mood brightens. The way light defeats dark, food defeats the cold. I feel so warm and it shows. The moisture coming off my body makes it look like I’m smoking, as if food was the kindling needed to start the fire from deep within myself. Today is the day my life changes.