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Today seems a bit warmer than it has been in the past few days. It’s 7:00am and I’m sitting at a bench by the gas station placed specifically for bus riders to sit and wait on. I see many cars speed by; here comes a black Mercedes S-Class. The man driving it is wearing a grey suit and looks about 35. He must be going at least 60 mph in a 45 mph limit. Must be getting late for some fancy meeting at work. The car following it is a 1998 Toyota being driven by a woman with three kids. One kid is on his cell phone, other listening to his iPod and the last one arguing with his mother over something that seems to have made her very angry. I lose interest and notice a man sitting at the opposite corner of my bench with his adorable little two-year-old daughter. She looks like she walked right out of a Huggies commercial. The curiosity in her green eyes, her pure love for all human beings, and the innocence of her age reminds me of my daughter when she was young. As she looks at me I smile at her and ask this little princess how she’s doing. Before she even gets a chance to reply I notice a disgusted, judgmental look from her father as he stares me down from head to toe and moves his daughter closer to himself, away from me, and looks the other direction. Five minutes later a middle aged lady walks over to the bench. Seeing me sitting there she changes her mind to sit on the empty seat next to me and decides to stand instead.  I don’t mind. She walks to the other corner and becomes comfortable with the man and his daughter she keeps calling Sally. The man does not seem to mind this complete stranger approaching them. Of course not, i think to myself. I’m used to being treated like this. It doesn’t bother me anymore. People seem to think because I’m homeless I have some sort of mental illness, or I’m dangerous; I am someone to be scared of, someone to protect their children from. It is because I am homeless that I am less human than they are. I have less feelings than they do. I have no hopes and dreams like they do. Like I had willed this upon myself and therefore must rightfully suffer for the choice I made for a blissful life of no rent payments, no bills, no nothing. You know I too was a baby once, I too had loving parents, I too liked watching movies. I too went to school, had friends, make jokes, pulled pranks, had a loving wife, beautiful children, and a great job. I did. I did. Sometimes things  change with a blink of an eye; you come home to find a burning house, lost children, a barely breathing wife in an ambulance. You try holding on until she too gives up and leaves you all alone. You wouldn’t be surprised if someone who lived through all that was a little depressed, lost hope, gave up and was asked to resign from his job of ten years that he had generated great profits for previously. Friends too leave you stranded once you are no longer an asset to their network. I get up and begin walking toward the west side of town. A young boy, probably 22, is walking toward me. I notice him looking at me but when I look back he quickly turns away, avoids eye contact, and increases his pace to walk past me. I lift my arm and use my hand to cover my eyes from the sun as I wipe the sweat off my forehead with the other. I continue walking to find some shade.

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