I walked down the uneven sidewalk, my cart lurching forward with each anomaly in the pavement, watching my wet footprints evaporate behind me from a puddle I had walked through a few yards back. I bent down to pick up a can, which, along with all the others in my cart, would buy me tomorrow’s dinner. Finally, I ended up at the cobblestone steps leading down into the Marina harbor, my home. I’ve always felt a connection with the Marina. It’s kind of like a phoenix. After the 1906 earthquake destroyed so much, the Marina was built right on top of the rubble, rising from the ashes. Someday I hope to be like the Marina, to rise from the ashes of homelessness and into a real life, like a phoenix.
I left my cart at the top of the steps and walked down until I was just above the water level. I wondered what would have happened if I had kept walking, all the way down the steps to the bottom of the ocean. Maybe I would grow fins and swim away. But instead I just sat on the steps and looked out over the water at all the boats I wish I owned.
“At least I have an ocean view,” I said to myself smiling, “something people pay millions for and I have it for free.”
Still thinking about this, I curled up against the cold and went to sleep.
Full story available in Midnight Diner.