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wpid-wp-1419217471617.jpegAs today is Christmas, I’ll be skipping my Friday’s Random Thought this week but I didn’t want to leave you without something interesting to read and something to make you think a bit during this holiday season.  This is a short story I’ve been wanting to write for some time.  I’ve scribbled  bits and pieces of this along with many ideas for stories over the years and finally, I got my brain to line up with the concept and the story I wanted to write.

This is a bit longer than my other postings as of late so please excuse what some would call a ‘wall-o-text’.  I hope you enjoy this and please everyone, have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Because No One Else Will

It was a frigid Monday again. The weatherman said it was going to continue to be cold all week. Tommy was hopeful that he could stay warm enough to get to the meeting. Being an addict was the worst thing in his mother’s eyes and Tommy was so proud that he had been clean for almost a year. This week’s meeting was especially important to Tommy since he would finally get his chance to tell his story.

He walked into the room cursing himself. He was late and it was his turn to make the coffee.. As he walked in, he saw that the room that should be full was mostly empty, only two people showed up.

Sara was in the corner sitting huddled in her coat. She’s been at the meetings for as long as anyone can remember. Being clean was one thing, staying that way for the long-term was another.

Kyle was also there, that was unexpected. He had been missing from the last few meetings and with the fresh bruises on his face it was clear that he had been in some trouble again.

And that was it, no one else had arrived. The continued cold had yet again sapped away the courage to brave another windy winter day.

Tommy shrugged under his coat, put his backpack under the table and began to make the coffee. Once that was sorted out, he began to arrange the chairs in a circle for the meeting. He took off his coat and laid it over the back of a chair and sat down, putting his head between his hands.

This was supposed to be THE meeting, where I could tell everyone what changed me, what opened my eyes. I want to care, I want to share my story but there is no one here to listen.

“HEY! Is that awful coffee ready yet?”, Sara barked at Tommy.

“Not yet,” Tommy yelled back, “I was late and…,” but Sara cut him off.

“Good, the meeting will run over and I can stay here and warm up a bit longer,” she stormed off towards the corner and then stopped and turned on her heel, “Say, isn’t this the meeting you have something to share”, she said mockingly, making a quotation signal with her fingers when she said share.

“Yeah…but I already know it’s pointless”, shaking his head Tommy continued, “,You just sit in the corner ignoring everyone and Kyle here…I don’t know…forget it, “Tommy put his head down, holding it with his hands again.

“HAVE SOME BALLS MAN!”, Sara yelled at Tommy, “Just say it so I can go back to the corner and be warm and enjoy the quiet.”

Tommy stood up fast, knocking the chair over. This awoke Kyle from his stupor. He stood up quickly with his fists in front of him and shouting, “NO! NO! NO!”

Sara and Tommy just stood looking at Kyle, both sharing confused and shocked looks on their faces. Kyle was trembling with rage, confused looks of fear and anger just raking themselves across his face before he calmed down.

“Sorry”, Kyle mumbles sheepishly, “just don’t fight, I hate fighting, hate it…hate, why do people hate?!”

Kyle slowly walks between them and heads for the coffee urn, Tommy and Sara follow him. Tommy checks the urn, yup, it’s cold. The damn thing never works right anyway.

Kyle speaks slowly, “So, why don’t you just tell us what you were going to share with everyone? Coffee is cold again, the weather is cold again. You might as well say it.”

Tommy kicks the table in frustration, “Everyone was supposed to be here, but okay. Take a seat each of you and I’ll begin.”

“I was in a bad way almost a year ago. I was still hooked on whatever I could get to get me high, I just could not stop, you know how it is. Anyway, I was walking around the streets. I was off my high, shaking very badly. I had not eaten in days and to make matter worse, I was out of painkillers. ”

“I climbed into a dumpster behind a grocery store looking through the food they had thrown out, hopeful of finding a meal. I was able to choke down a half eaten-sandwich. After getting that to stay down, I took a cup from the garbage and sat outside of the grocery store to beg for money, hopeful for enough to buy my next high from that damned dealer.”

“A few people dropped a few coins in my cup as they walked by but it was nowhere near enough money. Then a girl walked up and dropped a brown paper bag in front of me. She asked if I was hungry. I just said that I needed money. She asked me again and then knelt down next to me.”

“This little girl was looking at me with a smile, she picked up the brown paper bag and took out a sandwich, an apple and a bottle of water. She handed me the sandwich and opened the bottle of water, then handed that to me in turn. She told me to eat as she took my cup and held it out for people to put money in it.”

“I was in shock. Why would someone give me their lunch and then beg for money for me? I asked her what she was doing. ‘Isn’t it obvious, I’m begging for money for you while you eat’. I ask her why she cared, her answer struck me to my core.”

‘Because no one else will.’

“I didn’t understand why this hit me so hard. This little girl looked at me and I was starting to cry and then said the words that just crumbled me to the ground.”

‘Don’t cry, you shouldn’t cry. I know I can’t change the world, it is just too big. All I can hope to do is change the world for one person in one moment in time. That’s why I am sitting here with you. No one else would care, no one would do it. I don’t know if this will make a difference for you, but I can’t walk by and not try.’

“She gave me a hug and then handed me the apple, got up and walked down the street. I never saw her again.”

Sara asked, “So, this kid gave you her lunch and you stopped doing drugs. Yeah, sorry, I just don’t believe it.”

Kyle spoke up in a shaky voice, “Well, why not? Tommy is here and obviously it has had an effect, he’s been clean. Why is it so hard to believe?”

Sara retorts, “It just too simple, that someone giving you their lunch cleaned you up.”

Tommy reaches under the table and pulls a newspaper from his backpack. He hands it to Sara.

“She is the third one down on that page”, Tommy points to the obituary article for a young girl that died over the summer.

Sara begins to read the article as Tommy explains, “This little girl died of an inoperable brain tumor. She decided to spend her last days according to the article giving out lunches to anyone she came across. She wanted to see that even when she had no hope of living, the living would still have hope.”

“This kid was dying and rather than spend all the time she had left being bitter about how she was cheated, she made lunches for the homeless?”, Sara looked shocked as the words floated in the room.

“All I can do is change the world for one person in one moment in time, that’s what she said to me. A dying kid wanted to change my world simply because she wanted to. Not for fame, not for a chance to live longer, just to do it.”, Tommy continued, “That kind of presence of heart and will is what inspired me, pushed me to get clean. I never got to thank her. I wanted to tell everyone that was supposed to be here that this was what helped me, changed me. I wanted everyone here to know that it could help them to.”

Sara handed the paper to Kyle so he could read it and gave Tommy a hug.

“It might help me, it might not”, Sara said softly and then her voice took a joking tone, “Good to see you can grow a pair and tell a good story.”

Sara turned and walked out of the room. As Tommy began to clean up the coffee table, Kyle handed him the newspaper and said, “Well, I’m glad I came in today. Thanks for sharing your story man. I know this will sound corny and all, but, really, thanks.”

Kyle stayed and helped Tommy finish cleaning up the room, putting all the chairs and tables away. As they were walking out of the room, Sara came walking back in.

“Good, you two are still here.”, she warmly greeted them, handing them both a fresh hot cup of coffee.

Shocked, they both accepted the coffees as Tommy asked, “Uhm, and you are doing this why? I didn’t think you cared about my story.”

Sara looked Tommy straight in the eyes and grinned, “You came out in the cold, stood up to me being a bitch, actually grew a pair and told us what happened to you.”

Kyle spoke up, “So, you decided to change our worlds in the one moment in time?”

Sara cocked her head to one side and smiled broadly, “Yeah. Ahem, a toast to that little angel. ”

As the three of them touched their cups together in unison, “Because no one else will.”

Published inHolidaysShort Story

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