Pennerstories Short, Short Story

A Christmas Wish

I feel the weather getting colder by the day as the daylight fades earlier this time of year.  I’ve found a storefront nook that, to my surprise, was not taken and should keep me out of the draft and keep me warmer than I was last night. Luckily for me I still have my jacket, but the sad thing is someone stole my shopping cart that had everything I own in this world. Truly, once again, I have nothing left, nothing but the clothes on my back. It’s been two days since my last meal, if that is what you would call it. Many of the homeless prefer a drink over a bite to eat, but to tell you the truth, I’m not there yet, but the thought is becoming more apparent as quality food evades me.

Darkness hides me from most eyes and I sit invisible. I am uncomfortable as the cold concrete freezes through my jeans. I lean back against the storefront door tucked nicely in my claimed alcove. I stare out at the traffic bumper to bumper, log jammed along Fairfax Boulevard. I noticed a gentleman, while stopped, turn a look in my direction straight at me. His gaze passed right through me. At first, I felt embarrassed, but then realized that the man did not even see me as I sit in the cover of darkness. You might wonder why I still get embarrassed? I’m not even sure myself; I guess I still don’t see myself in this situation. I’ve been hoping for a long time now that good fortune will fall upon me and I return to the life I once had, the life I once loved.

What time is it I wonder? Time seems to move much slower than usual as the traffic I watch never thins. I never think about what time of year it is anymore, but every now and again something will give me a reminder of the season. A few minutes ago I saw a car with a fir tree tied to the roof. It didn’t dawn on me till just now that it must be Christmas once again. That is the first sign I’ve seen. Could it really be Christmas? Where are the lights that glow? Where is the paint on the windows with snow and Happy Holiday’s? I have yet to see any proof other than what I just witnessed. Wow! I am really hungry right now and super cold. Only if there was something I could do? Nothing comes to mind. I won’t give up! I will not give in! I look to heaven and cry out again, “Is there a God? Is there a Santa? Where is the compassion, my salvation?” No one hears me; they just continue to drive on slowly. Back to my thoughts. I guess there is some hope, I remember a mother and young child pass me by earlier today, and bless her little heart, she gave me a penny. Her mother quickly grabbed hold of her upper arm and pulled her to safety, as if I were a danger. Just like a shooting star we in the homeless community say that when an unsuspecting child gives you a coin you get a wish. Personally I don’t believe it, but for kicks I silently made a wish. Knowing how miserable I feel right now I would give anything for it to come true. Will God grant me? I doubt it!

Amazing! It was all a very bad dream. I awoke this morning in my bed with my lovely wife next to me. My baby was cooing in her crib. My heart was filled with warmth and love. I breathed a sigh if relief, I was homeless only in my dream. My wife and baby girl did not die a few years ago, I did not lose my job and everything else I held dear. It was all a very bad dream. I rolled over and hugged my wife and fell back asleep with the largest, warmest smile.

I awoke a second time still glowing with a smile and noticed the frost on my shoes and the snow gently falling where it never snows. It was only yesterday I would give anything to be back home again, the way it was.

© Robert Penner 2010