"I am your FEAR.
I am your COURAGE.
Aeden turned over to the other side. His body shivered. Christmas was just a couple of weeks away. It hadn't snowed this year but it might as well have. The weather sucked all the warmth out of the pavement tiles. But there was nowhere else to go now...
His left hip hurt a little - the little box stashed in his pocket was small but hard. This gave him a minor dilemma...
He could remain in his warm position. On the other hand, he could ease the discomfort by reaching into his pocket - but exposing himself to the cold for a few moments.
Aeden decided that the box was less hurtful than the weather. He pondered for a moment about where life had taken him.
Not too long ago, his dream was to be in the papers. Tonight, he was lying outside the train station on these very newspapers. He had also stuffed some of the newsprint into his clothes. When he was a little boy, he heard that paper could protect your body from cold weather.
“Let’s see if this shit works.”
Little by little, his body warmed up. The articles lining his clothes didn’t matter. The world’s markets and their tempting offers seemed to be beyond his reach anyway. What mattered was that he wasn’t going to freeze to death.
“Thank you Lord for all that you’ve given me” Aeden prayed. He knew he had to stay strong to stay alive. He refused to give in to the pain. It wasn’t so much the cold and hunger that hurt him. It was the loneliness, not having someone who understood, that bothered him.
“Fuck, I’m gonna get out of this.” Even though he tried to stop it, doubt started creeping in. “What if I die here?”
A rapping sound drew closer. As the echoes became more distinct, Aeden felt a stir of lust as six leather-strapped feet paraded in front of his face. Desire was immediately replaced by annoyance. He watched a coin spin around then fall flat on the bone-breaking ground.
“Aww...” a female female voice mocked him. A look of pride covered the young woman’s face. She seemed to be impressed with her own act of giving.
“I’m not a fucking beggar!” he silently screamed in his mind. Still, he had to put his pride aside. A couple of pennies could be the difference between having a meal and staying hungry.
His thoughts took him to a memory of a different time. A time when a woman’s voice expressed pleasure, not fucking pity. When he could ignore the disapproval of his friends because he was the only one walking away with a woman at a party. But tonight...
Tonight Aeden had no friends. Nobody gave a shit. If he stood in front of his “friends”, tonight, they would only turn away in shame. After all, he used to be the one they envied. Now, he was no more a threat...
Aeden looked around. Everyone else seemed to have made peace with their lives. Even the frowning faces of those who looked like bums seemed comfortable. A sleeping bag does go a long way on the street.
The groin-stirring feet had moved further away. The sound of heels, sharpened to penetrate any man’s heart, was gone. Aeden was still there, searching in his mind for a map.
He had to turn over again - the little box was just too annoying. His eyes closed. The stacked papers that supported his head eased him into an elating dream.
Everything was almost good again...