I paused abruptly on reaching the red bench. Something is amiss. Today again the bench is empty.
Every day, on my way to office I happen to pass by this bench. Each day I see him sitting there. Matted hair hanging on his shoulders like unwashed dreadlocks. Clothes that have not been washed for long. But how can he? He has no home. Dazed and lost, humming to himself, at times he would be playing some sad melody on his guitar while people would put coins in front of him.
The bench looks sad and deserted. I look around. Would anyone know his whereabouts? No use asking these strangers, for they’re all passers-by using this park as a passage to their destination. For him, it was home.
I see a young guy walk towards the bench, place a bouquet, say some prayer and walk away.
Of course this had to happen! Day after day, beaten by cold weather at night, he could bear it no more. I felt a lump in my throat. The first thing I’ll do on reaching home is donate to some institute for the homeless.
My above story is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a weekly story writing challenge held by Priceless Joy.
Photo prompt for this week was provided by Ady.
I do know “Empty Nest” is not an appropriate title for this story but somehow it’s the first word that came into my mind after writing. Words like ‘vagabond’, ‘vagrant’ and ‘wandering’ are too cliched`. How about ‘A Vagabond’s Refuge’?