Chapter 4:


New Leaf!

I could hear the many footsteps of the people passing by. What are they doing? I know — they’re staring. Stop… please stop. Don’t you know that it’s rude to stare? And what are they feeling? Pity? I bet it’s pity. A pitiful sight isn’t it. Well, there’s an easy workaround — just stop. Y’know, if you feel bad just by looking at me, just avert your eyes. Also, if you take your eyes off of me, I won’t feel… shameful. Really, it’s a win-win situation for all of us; no one will feel sad! Yeah… not that it matters anyway. My head’s down, so I can’t actually see if you’re staring, and you can’t see if I see you staring.

It’s been long enough. Yeah, the pain in my stomach from hunger is unbearable, but the pain from my despair is unfathomable. At least I can be proud of how long I’ve managed to fight. I let out a weak smile that was invisible to everyone. I’m just gonna close my eyes and hope for something; whatever it may be, I can’t afford to judge it.

Ren’s POV:

No one but the figure and I populated the street now. I stared at the figure and discerned what it really was. It was not a thing, but rather, a person. Also, this person was a girl. It was hard to conclude that because she was wearing a black hood and she had her face buried in her legs, but it was most likely a girl. Speaking of her hoodie, it was weird she was wearing one. I mean, it was pretty cool now, but earlier, it was warm enough that wearing a hoodie would be intolerable.

It was getting dark, she was wearing rather plain and slightly dirty clothes, and she was sitting outside in that defensive position. I concluded — homelessness. It is highly likely given the factors I noted. In this city, homelessness is not uncommon; in fact, I walk past someone that is destitute almost every time I go to work. Honestly, in this case, I was a bit shocked. Looking at her height and physique, I would guess she is a teenager — maybe 15 or 16 years old…. Why? Usually, those who are struggling are maybe 30 to 45 years old, but to see someone this young in this situation — was disturbing. Also, she was not doing anything. Someone impoverished would normally hold out a cup and ask for money, but she was not. She was just there, doing nothing; what is she trying to do? And she also does not seem to have anything other than her clothes. Does she have nothing else? Maybe she is new to this lifestyle.

The length that I have been staring at her for was definitely rude, but I was standing at a distance where she could not see me. This feeling…. This situation was abnormal. Did she give up? I wonder. Submit to her new fate? Maybe.

I knew now, so I decided to continue walking home. She did not really concern me. I am sure she knows where the local homeless shelter is, so I assume she will go there when it gets really dark. I continued to my condo, but after a few steps, I stopped.

Wait? I slowly turned to look at the girl. And… there was something. I was surprised. Actually, there was nothing physically wrong, but I felt something. It was… sypathy? Empathy?

A force — I felt it. This force was pulling… or rather, pushing me towards the girl. I felt this force before. In fact, I feel it almost every time I go to work. Sympathy… it was sympathy. Specifically, sympathy towards the less fortunate I encounter. But this sympathy… was not mine. Yeah, I felt sorry for those I have helped, but not to this extent. It was odd. Was it…?

I inched myself closer towards the girl. She held the same protective position; wait, she is not dead right!? If she were, she would respond to my offering. So, I reached into the pocket on the inside of my coat and pulled out my wallet. Opening it, I pulled out cash. How much did I have? 5… 10… 15…. I have $300. Alright, I will give her my $300. It is fine since I make a decent amount of money from work. Okay. With the stack of bills, I extended my hand towards the girl.

“Umm… hey girl.”