Based on the events of this weekend, I have decided to have a guest writer. His name is Jeff and this is his story.
Today began like any other day. I woke up with the sun and hunger pangs. I licked my lips a few times and noticed an overwhelming thirst beginning to well within me. Each day is spent trying to subdue these two beasts. The last few days have been worse with the temperature soaring above 100 degrees.
My morning searches were hit or miss. I found some food scraps behind the IHOP and I found some bottles at the Shell station that were half-full. As the afternoon began, I found myself walking through a park. I remember when I used to sit in a park just like this one. I enjoyed listening to the leaves rustle in the wind and the laughter of children as they played. Today was not so carefree. I was focused and single minded. I was thirsty.
While walking through the park, I spotted my prize. A trash can overflowing with take out bags and cups. As I drew closer, I noticed a truck sitting close by. Well, I noticed the truck at first but what caught my attention was the man inside. He was wearing some kind of uniform. He must have been on his lunch break. He was reading some book when he looked up slightly startled. I guess the crunch of leaves alerted him to my presence. I did not make eye contact. I feel no shame in my position but I have grown tired of the looks of trepidation or disgust at my presence.
I found the trash can bulging from the refuse inside. I rummaged around for a few moments. I came across a half-full lemonade bottle . People just waste too much. I could feel eyes on my back attempting to stare through me. They were full of disgust that I would drink from the trash. I didn’t have to turn around to see the look in his eyes. Years of experience had taught me this disappointing truth.
Not once did this man speak up. No offers for pocket change or to buy me something to drink. He didn’t try to shove one of those bible booklets in my face and tell me that his Jesus could fix all my problems. Nothing. He simply sat there staring and then went back to reading. I couldn’t find anything else salvageable so it was time to move on. As I walked back across that open field, I felt those eyes follow me. A question came to mind, “I wonder what was going on in his head?”
I was the man in the truck. There was no discourse between us. I simply sat there out of disbelief, fear, and passivity. I do not know Jeff’s real name. I do not know his story. I do not know why this encounter haunts me. The one thing I do know. He was thirsty.