A man lives on New York's streets while trying to forget his past.
|A nameless man trudged down Bleecker Street, pulling a shopping cart behind him. His day had begun at dawn and like every day he had loaded the cart with his meager possessions and left last night’s home. When New York’s streets once again turned dark he’d find another alley and unload his cardboard bed, a woolen blanket the Salvation Army had given him, and if he was lucky today, maybe a bottle of cheap wine.
His life hadn’t always been this way. He blamed no one, but himself. He cursed the haunting memories which played over and over in his mind like old black and white horror movies.
He hadn’t seen the stalled car on that cold winter night until it was too late.
Pulling the cart was easier than pushing. Drifting snow slowed his progress as he turned down 7th Avenue, searching for discarded aluminum cans and an easy mark.
“Hey, mister, can you spare some change?” Were words he had sworn he’d never say, but once he’d lost his dignity, begging became easy and a way of life.
In another life, his lovely wife Rosie had always given to the poor, the ‘down and out’ she’d called them. That was before the accident.
He slammed on the brakes, but the car didn’t respond. On impact, Rosie plummeted through the windshield and died instantly. His two beautiful young daughters, still strapped in their car seats were trapped in the mangled wreckage.
He stopped and peered through a bakery shop’s window admiring the freshly baked goods. With a scowl on his face and a waving fist, the shop’s owner motioned for him to move on. He tugged at his cart, pulled his ragged coat tighter around his broken body and moved away. A hidden part of his conciseness knew why he was an outcast, why he wasn’t wanted. He smelled of urine, vomit and alley waste.
His reflection in storefront windows reminded him of the man he once was and what he had become. He was still a man, but a man with no purpose and no hope. Troubled with his identification as a man and wanting to be unknown, he carried nothing from his past but his heart-wrenching memories. Once, he was a husband, a father, a useful member of society who carried credit cards, family pictures and business cards in an expensive leather wallet. That was also before the life changing accident.
He found himself lying in snow and wondering, “Why all the white was turning red?” He screamed when he realized it was his blood mixing with Rosie’s blood. He screamed again when the twisted metal burst into flames and he heard his precious babies crying and calling for their mommy. His broken bones prevented him from moving as he laid in the wet, red snow and cried out, “Save my children!”
The man with no name and nowhere to go paused and stopped at a small park, resting his weakened body, he found an empty bench and sat watching two children playing in the snow. Their mother stood by, keeping a close eye on her loved ones as they made snow angels. He looked away when tears rolled down his dirty cheeks. He wiped them away, rose to his feet, left the cart and walked toward the Hudson River.
Hours later, an onlooker told the Port Authorities, “He didn’t look left or right, but straight ahead and simply jumped into the river, and vanished.”