The Man

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: The Imaginarium

Submitted: May 14, 2018

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Submitted: May 14, 2018

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The man was an infection to society, a living and breathing imposter to life. He was a rug that was stepped on too many times to count. He also was a piece of trash that was thrown away to dissolve in the hands of time. 12 years he walked the streets finding that his life was meaningless to live. The man had no money, no job, and no permanent shelter to call his own. The only belongings he had were the clothes on his back that barely kept him warm from the deadly cold in the winters. The shirt and jeans he had were torn and stained with large, black splotches of dirt. The words that once used to say New York Yankees were now faded and the only letters visible to the eye were the initials.

His source of food was behind restaurants in big blue metal baskets that were always swarming with flies. The man’s water supply was the nearby river that was contaminated by waste with a taste of severe saltiness. Now you can see why the man considered his life meaningless. If not, then you have missed the picture.

For 12 years this man walked the streets, morning and night, traveling through the neighborhoods of the ghetto, the busy walkways of the city, and the train tunnels where everyone glanced at him in disgust. 12 years he did this. His intelligence was now only his common sense, and his ability to keep track of time was lost.

I sat on the benches in the tunnels for those twelve years admiring this man. I never said a word nor bothered to commit to a conversation, except on the last day I saw him.

Alive.

It was a late night in the summer and he sat down next to me while I waited for the train, and the stench that followed was horrific, though I kept my manners. We sat in the emptiness in silence, but after a couple minutes, he broke it.

“It’s a fine night is it not?” The man said.

“Indeed it is.” I answered.

“Where you off to lad?” He said.

“Home.”

“Ah, must be a sight?”

“It can be if the kids would learn to clean.” I giggled silently. “So what are you doing down here if I might ask?”

“To listen to the music of the city.” He replied.

“What music?”

“The sounds it makes as vehicles stop and go. The sound of the doors of the train opening and closing. It is all music, you just have to listen.” The man said. “Close your eyes and listen.”

Obeying the man, I closed my eyes thinking that this was insane. All I could hear was the rumbling of the roof above as vehicles drove through the street with their horns honking. Mixed in with them were the sounds of yelling as people called for taxis. A louder yell was that of a woman as she screamed for her purse and cried for help. This clearly wasn’t music. It was just obnoxious noises that drove me crazy every day.

“All I hear is noise. There is no music.” I said opening my eyes.

“Then your head is not clear. You must keep a clear mind to hear it. Try it again.” He replied.

I closed my eyes once again, clearing all thoughts from my head, but no matter how much I tried, the same aggravating noise echoed in my ears. At this point the man was just mad, a psychotic brought up by nature.

“It’s not working.”

“It will come to you eventually. Patience and time are key to hearing.” He replied.

All I did was roll my eyes as if I were to actually believe his gibberish.

“It will come I promise, and when it does, the world will be different for you. It is different for me through my eyes and ears.” The man said. “One day the music will just take me away in its arms, and carry me to another place better than this one. This I know.”

After the man had said that, the horn of the train echoed loudly through the tunnel as it arrived. I stood, turned to the man and just gave a nod at him and headed towards the open doors.

“The music will come, I promise.” he yelled as I turned to face him one last time before the doors closed, and the train leaving to take me home.

 

The next morning I arose from my bed, stepped into my dress closes that hung in the closet, and left for the little corner restaurant just down the street from my apartment. I ordered just a cup of black coffee, the same coffee I drank for 12 years, and stepped outside to grab a daily newspaper, a habit that never died.

As I walked the sidewalk heading towards work, a page of the newspaper caught me by surprise. A picture with the man’s face was printed and the title read “HOMELESS MAN FOUND BRUTALLY MURDERED”. I read the article finding that he was stabbed ten times, and the reason for his death was unknown. I felt an uneasy build-up of sorrow in my chest as I read the story repetitively. It was shocking that I even had tears to shed for the man I never knew. At least the music had him under its wing.

At work, my focus was lost as I kept thinking about the man. Even that night it was hard to sleep as his voice kept echoing that same line he used in the tunnel yesterday.

“The music will come, I promise.” It played and played like a tape recorder. That night I went without sleep and took the day off from work the next day and went to the tunnel where the man and I sat a couple days before. I starred at the empty space next to me, and visualized he was there also and replayed that day as if it were a reality.

“Close your eyes and listen.” His voice said in my head.

I closed my eyes and only thought of the man sitting next to me and telling me to listen. Listen to the music. There was the obnoxious noise that never failed to quiet, and then a rhythm added in to the sounds as if told to do so. Then a low lined beat followed, playing softly under the melody of the chaotic noise. It all fit together like one big ensemble with all the different instruments playing their parts to create a beautiful piece.

When I opened my eyes with the music still playing, I could see the man sitting next to me with a smile on his face.

We both knew I had finally found the music.


© Copyright 2018 Reaper. All rights reserved.

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