Filthy, covered with the grime of life's harsh reality, I find my journal. I look at the last entry of any substance and see that it is dated two years ago. I could have sworn it was yesterday. I would say it was the alcohol but I don't drink as much as the others. I am just waiting for what I do not know.

When you are without a home, you wake up when the city begins to regain its rapacious pulse. Like everyone living—even those without a beautiful roof over their head—you begin routine. For those of us without a physical address it usually means a forage for food.

Like our greatest ancestors, a man without a home has no refrigerator, no storage shelves, no pantry, no food to prime the system for the start of the day. Barely tolerated by society, we cannot hunt the birds or other small creatures the comfortable complain about for sustenance os it would inspire uproar and a call to “do something” about us—the unmentionable, the guilty. We blend the best way we can, wandering with our heads down in tattered clothes looking for something others have cast aside. A half eaten doughnut, pastry, McMuffin; anything will do. In routine I work my way from the places I want to eat where the food is easy to the places rats feast—hopefully I am full before having to compete with the rats. Usually I am able to find a discarded cup from one of the overpriced coffee shops placed every 72 feet, then I can go in and refill the paper cup with something hot and fresh—cream and sugar become a meal. I load the hot, bitter water with so much cream and sugar, it becomes substantial, almost a satiating meal. The smell of something fresh. When I close my eyes it is visceral and I am in another place. Whatever it is, for a moment I feel alive, as if I belong.

I remembered. I knew it was time to begin the path to medom again when I saw some kids on the overpass looking down on me and some of the others. They were shouting and laughing. I felt bad, knowing the humiliation was hurled at me as one of them, as one of us. I turned my head to inventory us and realized why they were so boisterous and animated.

Behind me sat Ben. He was slowly working his way into his day. Apparently he wanted to start his day by playing with his pseudo-erection and was sitting on a broken plastic box with little Ben sort of standing at attention and stroking away. I knew why the children were animated, but what really bother me was that I just my back to him and took another sip of my coffee. I was numb to the event, matter-of-factly accepting. I was too close to Ben in every sense of the word.

I have seen the underbelly; I have lived with, in and on the underbelly; I am the underbelly. This is where I have been, but inside he lives, dormant, waiting. Yes, I am older. Yes, I will meet the sickle of Grim Reaper, but between this moment and that, will I just sit and wait, not allowing him to be, to enable me to be the better man he makes I? I must choose, or he dies and I become no more than a Ben.