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His name was not significant though the street urchins often called him with names which were making him unhappy but he had got used to them because they were the only possible company that he could have. He was not a bad person but people did not like him at all and this was probably because his appearance was not affable or perhaps because he did not speak so much. In fact what he had only was a piece of an old and torn cloth, eaten by the mice and scrabbled by the street cats which often visited him while he was asleep. His home was the streetâ€¦ It was one of those main streets where nobody noticed the dust that was enshrouding the asphalt or the foliage collected around the bare trees. The cars were rushing with an unbelievably high speed which usually made the surrounding buildings tremble and shiver. He never trembled or shivered as he was stronger to get through the constant noise of hooting motor horns and squawk of slammed brakes. Crashes and accidents happened almost every day and he was a witness of hundreds of deaths. That had made him indifferent to life and death. The hope for a better life was disappearing each day and near was the moment when he was about to become hopeless and completely desperate. Every day on the street was a day of waiting the luck to come back. But instead it was disgusting to watch people with their luxurious suits and dresses come and go without even turning their heads or whispering a word or big massive cars with darkened glasses and polished appearanceâ€¦ Oh, what was that place of indifferent, stone-hearted, perfectly looking, glittering creatures? The smiles, the tears, the gleam in the eyesâ€¦ all were gone. All that survived was haughtiness and neglect.
Most of the days went like that and there was still no panacea for the man who was begging not for money, not for food or alms. All he wanted was hope. One morning in front of him stopped a car. A door opened and behind the black shiny wheel staid a woman. A wide black hat was almost covering her face and none was seen of it. Her hands were extravagantly decorated with golden rings and there was a pearl necklace on her neck. What a surprise was that, maybe it was a coincidence or maybe the lady had lost herself, because rarely did cars stop exactly here, on this corner.
“Hey, old man! We’re kind of lost. Where’s the closest mall or restaurant?” And now this came out of nowhere because the man was wondering who was she talking with. Who was the old man? Was she really referring to him? As the woman saw no reaction from the man she nervously opened her purse and took out her wallet. “Ok. Here are 5 bugs. Now tell me where is the closest …?”
“Hmmâ€¦ Are you..? You are talking to me, right?”
“I am certainly talking to you and it is obvious that you have not answered me yet even though I am in such a hurry that you can’t even imagine!” The woman grabbed a 20-leva bill but as she was searching into her wallet the wind took her hat and an unexpected picture was revealed in front of the man. Her whole face was livid, and when she saw that the man was looking at her she felt embarrassed and ignominious. Her beauty was brutally stolen after a plastic surgery failure; those eyes of her were empty and colorless as there was no glitter. Her rotund voice suddenly changed and through tears the last thing that she said was “What are you looking at?!” And she went back into her car and stepped on the gas.
The man did not know what to say and he was sorry about someone for first time in his life. There was a lump in his throat which he gradually swallowed and started thinking about life. Perhaps he was not the only one who needed hope. Maybe there were so many other people feeling desperately and only hiding their worries behind the black glasses and not showing to the world that they were weak. The man did not feel how quickly the end of the day came and the sun fell beneath the horizon. And as the sun fell down behind the high apartment buildings the waiting ended and the expectations for hope sunk into him to give way to a life which was replete with happiness and which he could only experience during his sleep. But sometimes even this right of him was stolen with no plausible excuse. Around 3 at night the silence on the street was broken by a cacophony coming from the nearby discotheque. Some guys who were obviously drunk were coming and their clothes and behavior definitely showed opulence. One of them was still having his fashionable sunglasses on even though it was night. His trendy clothes were wet and smelled of vanilla cigars and expensive whiskey.
“Look at this bastard that’s lying over there. Hey old buffer, why are you staying here on the street?” asked he.
“I am begging for hope.”
“Why do you need hope? Ask me for money or food! That is what I can give to you. I can even give you authority and power if I want!”
The beggar got angry because of the insolent words of the young drunk.
“I don’t want your power! I have enough of it!” replied he.
Noise and laughter burgeoned out. This was more than humiliating, but still this was not a moment for falling down. The old man looked at them with haughty eyes. This drunken youth was thinking that his deceitful generosity is a demonstration of power and authority! This was so funny to the old man.
“You know what! My power is greater than the power of all of you! I am dependant only on this dirty torn cloth while you are dependent on everything you have. You are like a slave who serves on his desperate passion. You are in servitude to all your money and expensive clothes and drinks and all of your women and your cars and houses! You look like a parvenu!” This was followed by silence. Nobody dared to talk or even to make a little noise. “You see! Now I am more powerful than you, I am even manipulating you and making you feel angry. Who is the beggar now: you or I? Perhaps I should give you something that you need?”
This made the drunken man remove his sunglasses and think “This man can be really powerful.” He said “Ok, tell me what kind of hope you need? I can certainly tell you that you’re unusual and unique. You definitely can control people so you should find followers! You will have the power at your feet one day!” The youth man left silent and thoughtful with his company.
The angry expression from the old man’s face momentarily disappeared and a smile returned on its place. He had been waiting for this smile to come for such a long time. But the waiting was worth. Just a few sentences made the old man feel passion to live. He was still impecunious but he had a big wealth in his soul. Previously life had been immutable for him and what he had only missed had been just a little support. While alcohol and plastic surgeries were the remedies for some people’s desperation there was just a single feeling; hope made the old man stronger to overcome his own desperation. Life did not look so dusty and gray any more. The old man went to sleep again with the thought that happiness was not only a dream but a possible reality of the coming day.
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