I do not need your sympathy [alternate version]

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

New street, new faces, new day. Time for another round of begging for coin. Living on people’s sympathy stinks like I do – I haven’t had a proper shower in a while. Soap is not cheap.

Dressing up in dirty rags, sighing pitifully and seeming depressed sells. A part of me wishes that it didn’t, as it costs me my dignity. Alas, dignity does not help me pay for my next meal, so I suck it up.

A child’s laughter interrupts my thoughts. There’s a young elf, too young to be left unsupervised, playing on the street nearby. I scan the area around her. The street is empty save for three to five passer-by, no parents. A prickle of worry tugs at me, will the girl be alright?

BEEP. BEEP. BEEEEEEP. The desperate blaring of a bike’s horn emerged, sounding closer and closer. On the road, an underaged lad is panicking at the wheel of his speeding motorbike. The bike swerves, zigzagging on the empty road as if it was flailing and struggling to escape the Grim Reaper claiming its soul. 

It’s headed straight for the girl! I jump towards her and yank her away from the bike’s line of danger. She yips, startled.

The bike bolts for its next target, the wall. The lad jams his foot onto its brake and the bike obeys. It screeches to a halt, stopping inches away from its doom. Right on the spot where the kid was. If I did nothing… urgh. Don’t wanna think about it.

“Hey, Miss!” the child says, cheerily. Hugging me, she continues, “Thank you, thank you! I almost got hurt!”

It’s my turn to be startled. Words trip awkwardly from my mouth, “Uh… whatever.”

“Why are you wearing poor people clothes?” She asks, the lack of malice apparent in her.

Turning away from her, I didn’t want to answer. I walk back to my cardboard ‘bed’ and sit my butt down. Like a puppy waiting for mealtime, she stares intently, prying a reply out of me. I sigh, “... I’m a beggar.”

She gasps and frowns.

“What?” I said, offended. “You never seen a beggar before?”

Her voice goes soft, “That’s… very sad.”

Oh no. Not again. The sympathy… and from a child no less. It irks me.

I wave her off as if I’m shooing a fly away. “Don’t be sorry,” I say curtly, “I don’t need your sympathy.”

“Hmmm… you do need money, right? I can give you my ring, it’s from my grandpa.”

The gold ring sparkles, embedded with a row of rubies. It could be my ticket out of begging for good.

“No,” I smile at her, “Just sit with me until your parents find you.”

She obeys and waits. As minutes pass, elves murmur more than usual and hand me extra coin. “I wish blessings for you and your child,” they say. For a little while, their sympathy is no longer just on me… It’s nice to not feel like dirt temporarily.


Submitted: April 25, 2020

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