I’ve been out here so long, I’ve lost track of life. These streets are mean. Downtown is hustle and bustle, a financial district bursting at the seams. Whenever I ask for spare change, faux fur wearing, suitcase-toting citizens either turn their noses up or disregard me all the same. My ears once were tickled by a fat cat exclaiming I was human waste that needed to be disposed of immediately. He stated his opinion in front of everyone waiting to commute to their destinations. They all nodded their heads, agreeing fully. The thing is when you’ve lived on the streets as long as I have, words stop hurting and almost nothing catches you by surprise. I’ve seen and experienced the worst of humanity.
But, do you see that suburban parked over there? Yeah, that one. When no one else is on the street, she’s there always with food, water, blankets or clothes she bought for me to survive the seasons. I don’t know why, but she stopped for me without provocation. She was the only one who looked past my ragged appearance, treated me like I was human like I was a part of society. She visits me every day and leaves printouts of jobs I could check out. What I didn’t tell her was I used to be the CEO of a large tech company and how I lost it all. It was due to my negligence, trying to please my wife. She spent every nickel I earned and soon enough, a massive amount of debt loomed over my head.
I couldn’t dig myself out of it fast enough and had to liquidate everything I had and that still didn’t cover half the debt. She divorced me leaving me to fend for myself. I swore that would be the last time I ever trusted a woman again. I’d lost everything in the blink of an eye and now here was another woman extending her hand to help me get on my feet. I had no pride left and took any bits she offered. Somehow, the world bent its knee and tipped its hat to me and I clenched a job as a janitor at a relatively new start up.
I suppose fate bound me to that woman because when I made it to the last office to pull the night’s trash, there she was, sitting there pouring over something that was out of eye view. When she looked up, she gave a little smile and went back to looking over documents. Of course, she wouldn’t recognize me, I’m clean shaven now wearing decent clothes.
“I’m just here to take your trash. Don’t mean to disturb you.” I say.
“Oh no. Please, go ahead.” she laments.
“Work going alright?”
“Not really. I’m in charge of making this branch a success in the least time available.”
“I’m sure it’s stressful.”
“Isn’t it ever.”
“What kind of company is this?”
“Don’t suppose I could take a look at those documents?”
“I’m not supposed to, but I’ll welcome all the help I can get.”
Alls well that ends well, right? Life is a funny thing, you’re down on your luck one day and the sun’s shining down on you the next. At one time I thought I wasn’t needed anymore, but I was what she needed personally and professionally. She-no, Caroline let me get close enough to her to find out she’d recently gone through a divorce, even miscarried twice. Sometimes we have lunch together, almost kissed too. But that’s when I came clean. I ain’t no liar or no thief and I told her I was the man she’d helped on the streets. I don’t know why she didn’t reject me but here I am today sitting where she used to sit. She made partner at the main office and I couldn’t be more grateful for how things turned out.
Oh, and there’s one more tidbit of information I have to tell you. Caroline proposed to me! Weird, I know, but I said yes. It took one woman to squander everything I worked for and it took another to help me get it all back and then some, and I got a wife on top of it. I don’t know why she took a chance on me but I’m determined to make her not regret it. Alls well that ends well, right?