A Not So Perfect Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A homeless teen meets a lady at the soup kitchen who tells him a story that will change his life.

Submitted: February 06, 2008

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Submitted: February 06, 2008

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Most teens go to school, worry about homework and overprotective parents. Their biggest concerns are their D in math. One fifteen year olds name is Simon Angelo Crosse, and he knows none of these things. All he knows in his life is the sidewalk, sometimes a blanket, and free meals from shelters. This is Simon’s story.
Simon pulled his coat around him tighter, even though the chilly wind still seeped through the thin material. He was on his way to dinner at the soup kitchen. He couldn’t wait. As soon as the sign for the soup kitchen came into view, he started to run. There was no line outside tonight, and that meant he was late. As he reached the door, there was only one person there besides him. It was an old woman, sitting next to the steps. He was just about to pull the door open, when the woman spoke to him.
“Simon…” Simon spun around. The woman looked up at him.
“How… did you know my name?”
“Oh, I know everything and everyone that goes in and out of this place.”
“Why aren’t you going in to eat?”
“I can’t… I have arthritis in my knees and it makes me so I can’t walk. Usually, one of the workers will come and bring me food, but I guess they forgot about me today.” Simon looked at her tiny frame and concluded that she would be fairly easily to carry.
“Would you, maybe, like me to carry inside where it is warm?”
“Why yes, I would like that very much. Oh dear… I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Ruth.”
“It’s very nice to meet you Ms…”
“Ms. Coldwell” responded the old lady.
“Ms. Coldwell.” Simon carried her in, and set her down at one of the few tables left.
“Would you like tomato or chicken noodle soup, Ms. Coldwell?”
“Tomato please… and call me Ruth.”
When Simon came back with the soup, Ruth asked him if he would like to hear a story while they ate. He was delighted, because the last time he had heard a story was a long time ago. So long, that he almost couldn’t remember.
“Sure!” He replied with enthusiasm.
“OK… This is a story about a young girl named Ruthann Edwards. Ruthann lived with her mother, father, brother, and grandmother. She was a typical girl. Straight A’s, popular, and happy. Her family was wealthy, so she always had the newest styles in clothing. Now, when she was sixteen, she was sent off to a finishing school, like all the other rich girls in that time.”
“So wait… she had to go away from her family to learn how to act? Wow… must have been very boring.”
“So, Ruthann was sent off to the finishing school. Now, one day, she was sitting at the park during free period, reading a book, when a young man sat down next to her, and started a conversation. She found out that his name was James Coldwell, and he was a medical student at the university nearby. As they parted, they promised to meet the next day. This went on for a few months.
Now as time went on, they started to fall in love, and soon thereafter, James purposed. Now… I bet you can guess what she said, Simon…”
“I think she said yes!” replied Simon.
“You are right. She said yes, and they decided to get married in the next few months. Immediately after she had gotten into her room, she sat down and composed a letter to her father and mother telling them of the exciting news. She told them about how James was studying to become a doctor, and after that, he was going to get a job at the nearby hospital.
When her Mr. and Mrs. Edwards received the letter, Mrs. Edwards almost fainted with horror, and Mr. Edwards sat down the very instant, and started writing a reply. He simply said that a doctor is a sympathy job, he said, and he was not worthy of her hand in marriage. If she married him, they would disown her and she would not be able to have any contact with anybody associated with their family. She would have to quit school, and she would not inherit the money that had been set-aside at her grandfather’s funeral (which was a considerable amount) for her. She countered back saying that she had never especially liked school and her mother’s choice in friends for her. She said that she would marry James no matter what.
The next day, she took her savings, and rented a small apartment across the street from James’s home. Then she sold some of her jeweled necklaces for some pocket money. When she met James in the park later, she told him about all that had happened. Then he told her to get ready for some bad news. The United States was going into a war with Germany, and he had been drafted.
Ruthann started to sob, and James tried, unsuccessfully, to comfort her. He reminded her that he was going to be working in a hospital there, and just helping sick and wounded patients. He was not going out on the field. He reassured her that he would come back.
The day came where James had to leave, and Ruthann walked down to the docks to see him go. Ruthann burst into tears as he boarded the ship, and waited till it was out of sight till she left.
For the next few months, Ruthann got by, but James was never out of her mind for long. She had started to become used to the idea of his being gone, when a telegram came for her telling her that the hospital where James had been working had been bombed. James was missing. This was it for Ruthann, so she decided to move out, and go west. The city and her home reminded her too much of James.
Later that week, she boarded a train, heading for Seattle with a suitcase full of her clothes and necessities, and a small carpet bag with her picture of James, her mother and father’s pictures, and a silk scarf that had been given to her by her grandmother for her 15th birthday. On her finger, she wore the ring that James had given her when he purposed.
In three days, she was in Seattle and looking for a job. She had never had a job, so finding one was especially difficult. Finally, she was so tired, that she rented a room in a small hotel, and promptly fell asleep. For the next few days, she tried to find a job but could not find one that fitted her strength, or gender. She was tired, hungry and almost broke. In three days, she had been kicked out of her hotel room, and put in jail for stealing. When she finally got out of jail, four weeks later, she had no idea what to do. That night, she slept on a park bench. Pretty soon, her clothes were in rags, and her silk scarf had been sold for food money. She kept her pictures in a pocket on the inside of her coat. She was desperate. What do you think happened next?”
“Did she live?”
“Well yes… What else do you think happened?”
“Is she still alive?”
“Well of course!! Do I look dead to you?”
“You?? You were Ruthann?”
“Yes… I am she.”
“But I thought your last name was Coldwell…?’
“It is, but I changed it to that after I came to Seattle. I also go by Ruth instead of Ruthann, because it sounds too fancy for a homeless person.”
“I see… wow… you have had it all… You, Ruth, are a remarkable person.”
“Why thank you Simon, I appreciate that.”
Do you still have James’s picture, and the ring?”
“James’s picture is right here.” Ruth pulled out a very worn, rain splattered photo. The man in it was barely visible, but you could make out the shape of his face, and a few features. The ring was still on her finger. It might have once been shiny, but now it was tarnished, and the jewel had mud splatters on it, but it was beautiful.
Just then, a man came on the loudspeaker.
“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, but there is someone here looking for a Ruthann Edwards, I repeat, Ruth-ann Ed-wards…?”
“Oh my…” Ruth trailed off.
“Oh my…” she repeated.
“Come on! Lets go see who wants to see you!!! Come on!!!” Simon yelled. He picked her up, very carefully, and they walked to the front entrance. Ruth gave a little yelp as she saw who was standing there. It was James, only very much older.
“…darling…” James stammered.
“Oh James…” Ruth quivered, then she burst into tears.
“Come on, lets take you home…”
Simon passed her to his arms and then started to walk back to the dinning hall.
“You too Simon…” Simon heard someone behind him say, and he turned around to see their arms stretched out towards him.
“You too.”





© Copyright 2017 Rose Tucker. All rights reserved.

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