I kept my head down as I slowly walked through the cramped city of New York. I was walking back to my back alley behind the huge makeup sign, complete with a small cardboard box, which I used as a table for whatever food I could snag on from the streets. (I found the box in the giant dump) When I turned to go into my alley, no one looked at me. No one even took a small, quick glance at where this girl with a dirty brown coat was doing by strolling into a dark, frightening alley. No one takes interest in me. Maybe it’s because I’m homeless, maybe it’s because I look as sad as someone would look if they’d just lost their puppy.
As I sat down behind my cardboard table, I thought, Why do I wonder if someone would want to be my friend? I’m homeless, I’m dirty, I live in an alley with black cats and repulsive rats. Why would I want to be friends with myself?
Ever since I left school, I’ve been lonely from not having any friends for so long. Today I had managed to find a half-eaten donut and a half-full coffee cup in a garbage can beside a small coffee shop. I started chewing on the donut. It wasn’t too stale, maybe in the garbage for a few hours. How did I know these things? I’ve been homeless for almost 4 years, living on the back end of Times Square. I used to have parents, but one day they just disappeared one day when I came after school, and I’ve been homeless ever since. My parents’ jobs paid for everything: our apartment, food, school, our clothing. So when they disappeared, I lost everything I had. I’m 12 now, so I know what I should trust and what I should not.
(so I thought)
I finished the donut, and started sipping the slightly-cold coffee. I thought about back when I was in school, my friends biggest worries were if they were going to get an A on their science test or not. I chuckled, as if worrying about if you’ll survive through the next week was funny. I gulped down the now cold coffee down my throat, settling in my stomach while I think. I think about all the same things every, single, day, I don’t know why they don’t change. Where’s Mom, I thought. Where are you. All I want to do is be with you, at least one more time. Me and my dad didn’t have the strongest relationship, so I didn't think about him as much as my mom, though I would still love it if I could see him again. And then an idea struck me. What if I find Mom and Dad? I got up and started pacing. I know all the good hiding spots in Times Square, I should be able to find them in a jiffy. Oh. But what if there’s someone else. What if they are luring me into some kind of trap with my parents? But then I hesitated for a moment. What would they want from someone like me? I thought like I was jumping ahead of myself, so I decided sleep would clear my head. Normally it takes me forever to go to sleep, but today I went to sleep, as Mom used to say, as fast as a mouse scuttling away from a cat.
I stretched my arms out, yawning like a roaring lion. The sky was a bright tangerine, turning into lavender, into blue. It was probably about 6 am, which is much later than I normally wake up, but that’s fine. I have a plan to make, I thought.
I paced back and forth, trying to form a plan, but after doing that for one whole hour, and making no progress, I thought, This is useless. So I just started my search. I checked every nook and cranny of Times Square that I knew about; the other alleys, the city dump, everywhere. When I finished, I was so exhausted. It was probably the late evening, with the navy blue sky taking over the orange.
I walked into the closest passage, and I crumpled down to the alley floor like a piece of paper. I was just about to give up when I was grabbed by my coat collar. I flinched, waiting for something to happen, but eventually I opened my eyes. A huge, bulky figure towered over me, wearing all black clothing except for a slit in his mask, exposing his ice-blue eyes. “Do not speak”, he mumbled in a growling voice. I zipped my mouth shut. He carried me like that, for a while actually, through multiple alleys, back-ends, and tunnels, but finally he brought me into a dark, terrifying-looking building.
When he hauled me inside, the building looked like it had been abandoned for quite some time. There were cobwebs, empty boxes, and flickering lights everywhere. He dragged me over to a wall, with cracks creeping over it slowly, like a spider. He peered at me, his blue eyes piercing my eyes so much that my eyes hurt. “Don’t move. Or else.” He walked over to the other side of the room, and disappeared into the darkness. After a few seconds of registering what had just happened, I took a quick glance to my left. There were two people, a man and a woman, wearing quite normal, everyday clothes, unlike me.
The man had a dark red-brown beard which made him look a bit like a leprechaun. I couldn’t see his expression, since he was turned away from me, but he seemed to be worn out, just like me. I got a strange feeling of nostalgia.
The woman was closer, and then she turned to me. She had wavy blond hair, with bright, hazel eyes. She had a gag wound around her mouth tightly, but then she squinted at me. A wave of realization hit me, and then I whispered,” Mom?”