The Man at the Waiting Shed
He was there leaning on one pillar of a waiting shed and covered by a tattered garbage plastic bag from top to toe while sitting on a wet dirty carton. He shivers in mixed pain: the pain of hunger, the pain of malnutrition and of heart as he endures the cruelness of rain and thunder.
He is so thin. His skin is tightly hugging his ribcage. His backbone curved like a hunchback while his head covered in his two bare knees covering his ears. His hand holding his toes as he shivers in the blow of the wind.
Those wrinkles in his eyes imply he is older than me. His dry faded unmanaged hair tells me all the sufferings he had. The dirt on his body, as well as the scratches on his clothes, expresses how long he has been on the street.
I wonder why he chooses to stay in that miserable situation even though I offered him food and shelter. I offered him a hot bowl of "Arroz Caldo" and an overnight stay on my house but he responded me with a sharp look like a tri-edged dagger tearing me apart. He pushed me. I wonder where he got the strength to push me though he was too weak even to stand. Angrily he said, "Don't get near me. My sickness is contagious. I'm a sinful man", yet tears shed from his eyes as he returns to his awful position. Now he shivers twice faster as before maybe due to his silent crying.
I walked away hesitatingly but I didn't leave. I hid in the food chain just on the other side of the street. Sitting beside the glass wall enough to see him was my plan.
The rain didn't stop. It was past six hours since I attempted to help him. I look at the clock and it says 6:30 pm, however it seems like midnight for the sky is so angry today accompanied by flashing thunder. He is still there shivering so miserable.
I felt so tired of watching over him. I lean my head on the wall and look the white ceiling to relax since it has been six hours facing one side as I watch over the beggar. Then a flashback of an old pal came into my mind.
I was in the hospital. Holding the hand of my friend, Daniel. He sleeps so peacefully and quiet. He was such a strong person. I didn't know that he bares his sickness since he was five years old. Though leukemia is a serious case I never saw him crying or disappointed. He is always thankful for the day. So alive, enthusiastic he was. I can't remember a day he never smiled. He is my inspiration all the time. Daniel was always there to advise me, console me and protect me but now he is asleep. This could be the last time I could ever see him— here in this hospital. Memories of him still flourish— memories that will always be inside of me wherever I go.
"Sir wake up. We are going to close that store", a waiter said while gently tapping me at my shoulder. Those words wake me up. I had not noticed that I was asleep for more than 3 hours. I quickly ran on the waiting shed again. After a glance, I rushed towards it in pursuit of the man but he was not there anymore. I realized the rain had stopped but the sky is still dark. The streets are still wet as I go to my home. On my bed, I am wondering about the beggar. He reminds me a lot of Daniel.
It was hardly raining for days. As I rush towards home, after another overtime once more I passed by the waiting shed. I saw a familiar figure lying on the floor. I get near him and recognized that he was the man I tried to help. He doesn't shiver now but he is so cold. He seems so peaceful and quiet. His eyes are carefully closed. His lips are smiling a bit. His body is fully relaxed. I hold his hand as I sat beside him. He is such a strong person like Daniel.
Now I know why the rain didn't stop. It was in unity with him. As I look at the sky, I realize: "I may have lost two great people but I have discovered two great inspiration.