The weather seems to be getting a bit chillier around here lately Charlie Houser proclaims. Living homeless is not so bad as long as you understand that you are homeless and make it your every day life. implies Charlie. Charlie is a man that goes around thinking of things to do from day to day. On Vine Street in Coryville, a thin, short, black man stands between two buildings fighting off another Cincinnati winter. He is unshaven with a scraggly beard. His skin is rugged looking and tough. His outfit consists of a tannish-brown jacket, which clashes with his turquoise pants that are short in length.
Charlie wears a pair of black, puppy dog chewed up shoes. It is winter and he is shuffling back and fourth to keep warm. His steps are as timid as that of a mouse trying to sneak something to eat. The aroma of his alcoholic breath pollutes the frosty breath coming from his lips. Along with his breath, his eyes are glazed over, watery, and red. It is clear he has had been drinking. His hygiene is deteriorated to the point of him smelling like a dirty pair of socks, which had not been washed for quite some time. The teeth he had left are bright yellow and caked with plaque. His mouth is a nightmare for a dentist.
It is a disturbing sight to see, but many passes by take no notice of him. Charlie says, I tried to find employment, but was unable to afford a haircut and employers would not even talk to me because of my looks. Charlie lives his days by just getting through each hour and minute. Throughout the day he goes around asking for money or tries to enjoy things that he may have in his life. He has been doing this for quite sometime now, so he doesnt think badly of himself. Charlie address strangers coming up with tales such as, I just ran out of gas and my kids are stranded in the car, I was wondering if I could have some money for gas.
Often times, people just look the other way and keep on walking, and other times people give him a smirk, and tell him to go find a job. His squinted eyes began to open wider revealing them from his eyelids when he takes a bite of the arbys sandwich, probably his first decent meal in a long time. He replies, I used to have meals such as this years ago. I used to have a job, he explained that he had been discriminated against because of his color. Charlie worked as a salesperson, but as he put it I was a Life saver. He was a door-to-door salesperson for life insurance.
One day Charlie went to a ladies house asking if she would want to buy life insurance, and before he could even get another word in, the door was closed on his face, as if he was not even there. The lady called up to his company and said that the sales person was rude and that she didnt want a black man selling her thing of her future. Charlie was fired the next day, even though he had been working there for 11 years. Charlie replied, You saw the way they looked at me, everybody reacts the same way. They point, stare, and laugh at me. You do not know how that feels, and you never will.
Charlie is a man that lives life as it goes, and takes what it is given to him. Sitting down at a table, people stared at his shadow like figure as he had committed a crime. Looking at him, seeing wide, sparkly, blue eyes, knowing that he had not eaten for days. As he shoveled the food into his mouth the Arbys sandwich was devoured within seconds. When done with the meal his face lit up with content. His once melancholy facial turned to a cheerful expression within a matter of minutes. I did not know if he would open up to me after what happened. However, I then asked him the reason he ended up in this situation.
With a slight delay, he began to reveal the secret I was looking for. He told me that his parents had died in a car wreck and he started living with his grandparents. After having to deal with the loss of his parents, he was devastated and torn apart. He did not care about what he did and he started hanging around with the wrong crowd. Then, he thought drugs would ease his pain, however, it only lead him down the path to disaster. His behavior became very violent and his grandparents could not take it anymore and kicked him out. His brown eyes began to swell up with tears, and he broke down crying.
It was a very emotional experience for us both. I wanted to know more about his life, but I guess I was not ready to be hit so hard. We finished our meal and I thanked him for taking the time to speak with me. I told him to keep his head up and try to make something of himself. He looked at me and smiled. As he left, I noticed that he walked with a little bounce in his step now. I guess he was happy or something. Then, I thought to myself, how could someone in his situation be happy Maybe it was because I kept him company and listened to him. He was afraid of being alone, just like me.