Under the Green Desk Lamp…
I press my back against the cold stone of the bridge and take a long breath. Soon, I hope, I will rest.
The night is cold, and the fragile white light of the moon settles indifferently upon my open bed.
Tonight, I am homeless.
It isn’t the first night, and it won’t be the last. The day’s warmth still lingers in the grey cement of the support beam, and I know that despite everything, this night will be better than others.
It’s been coming for a long time. I’d been drifting—circling the drain for longer than I can recall. I knew where I was headed, but not the way to change the course.
All my life, I’d been told that working hard would get me ahead.
My hands are calloused, yet I feel far behind.
I’d been told that treating others with kindness and dignity would surround me with friends.
When I smile at strangers, they look away.
The homes around me are bright and warm.
The heat bleeds out of the bridge, and the chill sets into my bones.
I can talk to anyone—and do more often than not. People tell me that I’m so very like them—like I could be one of their friends, or someone they grew up with. I’ve heard it from vagrants, and students, and businessmen and politicians and cooks: ‘You’re just like me.’
But I am alone.
I have no tribe, and nowhere to go.
I have a reckless devotion to duty, but no one to serve.
I can walk with anyone, but rest with no one.
I’m very much like them, yet not quite enough.
I have owned property, held jobs, and loved well. I’ve never felt at home, found my purpose, or been certain of being loved in return.
The world can be cold indeed, and as the sun sets, it is sure to be colder still.
It’s not shelter I long for. Not in the end.
They say that ‘home is where the heart is’. They say it all the time.
There is nowhere I could call home, and so this bridge will do.
Tomorrow, I may find those things, and have my doubts dissolved. Tomorrow I may find that the promises of my youth were, at long last, true indeed, and that there is love and kindness and decency in this world. I may discover that virtue still burns in the hearts of man, strong enough to warm the depths of even the most frigid night.
Tomorrow, all those things may finally happen.
But tonight, I am homeless.
It is the least of my concerns.
-Brad OH Inc.