I rubbed my cold fingers together as I stared at my breath freezing in the cold air.
It was a cold winter autumn and I was certainly not dressed properly. I could feel my nose turn red and small ice crystals forming on my eyebrows. I reached down and picked up my cardboard sign again. It was tough getting money, especially in Brooklyn. Before I was homeless I had been one of the most respected lawyers in the state, that all changed though when I had lost my money gambling.
I had blamed my fate on those around me. At first saying it wasn’t anything to worry about and getting mad at my mother for suggesting rehab. Then I said it was because I had had an alcoholic father as a child and had inherited his weakness to addiction. Finally I had blamed it on my now ex wife, accusing her of spending all my money and having to gamble to try and gain it back. Now though I wish I had listened.
I could only blame myself for what had become of me. I had been on the streets for two weeks and was already half freezing to death. I was used to a warm fluffy penthouse apartment, not a cold hard park bench or the corner of a store. It was only November, there was no possible way I was going to live through the winter.
After I had become homeless I had told myself that everything would be alright, but soon I lost hope. It wasn’t alright, I had no job, no family anymore, no home. I had nothing. So I had decided to look at things logically, I had been begging on the streets for at least a week and in total I had only made $13.45. I could only afford a box of granola bars and a bottle of water that I filled up in public bathrooms. Soon I was going to either freeze or starve to death, and both looked like unpleasant deaths.
So I made a plan. I would beg until the first of December and try to survive and if I still had no pleasant possibilities of survival, Id end my life myself so that it would at least be on my own terms. I had even chosen how and where to do it. I would jump off the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge at night. It had always been my favorite and seemed almost perfect, falling to my death in the place I loved.
I was snapped out of thought and back to the present as another cold breeze came and froze my nose. Maybe I should consider jumping sooner.
I looked at my surroundings taking it all in. A little girl with a bright pink winter coat holding onto her mother’s hand. I tall thin lady walking in a rushed manner with a small terrier dog tied to a leash. One sight in particular caught my attention though, my own mother.
She was standing only ten feet away from me with a large steaming cup of coffee in her hand. Her and I locked eyes and time stood still. She gaped at me, probably in shock at how skinny and dirty I had become. At last she broke her gaze and walked over to me.
I expected her to tell me off, or at least give me a dirty look as she walked by. She had been the most disappointed when she had learned of my addiction, trying at first to help me and then recognizing my stubbornness, disowning me. Instead though she embraced me in a warm hug. There was another moment of silence as we stood hugging each other on the sidewalk.
“I am disappointed in you. You lost everything simply because you were too vain to admit that you needed help. I raised you better” my mom said as she looked me up and down. “However, I also raised you to be loving and to give forgiveness when it is deserved. I would like you to come home and live with me, only until you get back on your feet and you must go to rehab”.
I stared back at her in astonishment. “Of course, I’ll do anything for a second chance.” I was so overjoyed I didn’t know how to conduct myself. I dropped my sign and followed her into her car.
In the car I stared out of the passenger side window. We were driving over the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge and the lights had just turned on. I had planned on not visiting the bridge again until it was time for my jump, but I suppose I didn’t need to follow through with that plan anymore.