“A Vagrant Story”

Once upon a time, a pauper sat in a box and counted his change. He hadn’t spent a penny in months. Love claimed him and he wanted to treat his lady-in-waiting to something special. She became a regular at his soup kitchen since October. Always alone, but he could never find the courage to ask her out on a date. Not until he could afford one. Not until he could look nice enough to ask. So he lived on what even the most starved vagrant would pass up. But he had to save so he could treat her right.

It took most of Autumn and Winter, but he did it. Thus he put his plan into motion. He bought the biggest jug of water and the sweetest-smelling bar of soap from a drug store. On a construction site near one of his usual haunts, he scrubbed himself down in a port-a-potty. It was February so the cold made him miserable. Or would’ve. The love in his heart for her kept him warm. He scrubbed and scrubbed until he thought he bled. He then put on his cleanest clothes so he could step into the Goodwill and not be bothered. Luck was on his side, it was a 50%-off day. He found a suit and shoes with enough left over to buy her a scarf. She always looked so cold. That plus the bouquet made him feel really good about the night. Then he saw that it was the 14th.

She made him such a decent human being and hasn’t met him yet. Because he couldn’t spend any money, he couldn’t buy any alcohol, which made him sober for four months. As he approached her, he wished he could find the liquid courage to continue stepping forward. He had to settle for what he was born with. He’s braver than he thought because they soon stood face to face. He could smell the potato soup she wouldn’t be able to finish. He offered his hand and the best burger she ever had. She took both.

They spent hours in a booth at a fast food place he chose in December. He was so nervous then that he actually made a reservation. He explained his situation and promised to not cause any trouble. When they got there, a booth was made ready for them. Complete with festive balloons and two cupcakes. She loved the flowers and scarf and everything he did for her. Somewhere in the last of those hours, she loved him, too.

When they left, the crescent moon shone on them through snowflakes. It looked so tiny compared to the smiles they gave each other. They wandered the city, huddled together and stealing glances. Nowhere particular in mind, they simply didn’t want the night to end. He wanted to kiss her yet couldn’t. After all he did to get to this point, he couldn’t do what they both were aching to do. She didn’t mind, though. It was enough, for one night, to be treated like a princess.

Their aimless ambling, thieving eyes, burning lips, led them into a car. The driver couldn’t see them until it was too late. Braking made immediate action impossible. They died instantly and bled throughout the unending night.

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