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The sound of the city rush hour wakes him up early.
He's been sleeping under the newspapers and cardboard,
dreaming that he's still a boy, at his grandmother's house...
That he still has someone who gives a damn.
That he's still somebody!
Dreams and reality have been becoming blurred lately.
He drinks coffee from a Styrofoam cup
and watches the people going to work,
and then again in the afternoon he watches them from a bench,
as they crowd the bus stop, studying the signs on the buses,
waiting for the one that will take them home.
He never sees a bus that will take him home.
The sun goes down
and the city changes character as the temperature drops.
The well dressed business folks are replaced by dangerous people.
Desperation makes you dangerous.
He's gotten some wine somewhere
and is wandering the downtown night alone.
He checks pay phone slots for change,
and finds a quarter in one.
For some reason,
after thinking about the dreams of family he's been having,
and being about half stoned,
he drops in the quarter and dials Grant 1623,
the phone number that was his grandmother's when he was a kid.
Somehow the wires and circuits of time get crossed,
and from across the void,
HIS GRANDMOTHER ANSWERS THE PHONE!
She says, "Hurry home, dear. Supper's on the table.
I hope you're wearing your sweater...
You'll catch your death of cold".
These are the first words he's heard in an eternity
that sound like somebody cares about him.
That he really exists at all.
* * *
The policeman says into his radio:
"We got a homeless here. No hurry.
I think it's too late for this one".
But the policeman is wrong.
The boy is already home.
Copyright © March, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.