Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 24: The Street

Every morning I head to work and the taxi driver takes the same route. I pass the same food stand that has people crammed around it waiting patiently for breakfast. I pass the same taxi stand with its line of white cars. I pass the same Kiwi-branded corner where people come to shine their shoes before work. All of that sameness, I can live with, but it is the street people that touch me the most. I wonder what horrible misfortune has caused them to call a bit of concrete home. I wonder most about one individual in particular, who does not seem to be in a drunken stupor like so many of his neighbors. He’s black, in his teens and always sleeps in the same pair of red shorts and no t-shirt. He’s not an early riser as he sleeps soundly as I roll by around 8:00am. Small pieces of cardboard are his mattress and tall tree branches his roof. Today, I noticed that he was not at his usual address and I wondered where he could be. Could someone have murdered him during the night? Could he be visiting a friend in another part of the city? Could he have returned to his far away home? Whoever he is and wherever he has gone, we are not that different he and I. We have the same needs of food and water. We have the same wants of acceptance and love. Yet, what has caused him to live on the street while I studied at the best schools in the US?

Joel Montgomery

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