Thursday, May 6, 2010


The day had broken cold and gray as the man turned off the street a block from the boardwalk, trudging slowly in the heavy snow towards the old, abandoned building. The plywood covering the windows and doors was meant to keep out vagrants, but he managed to squeeze through a hole where one of the boards had been pried loose; the turn of the century building was a stark reminder of Asbury Park’s once vivid past and subsequent decades-long descent, although the man cared nothing for its history – he just wanted a place to rest, away from the bitter cold. The sores on his hands and legs were scabbed with blood and his beard flecked with dried vomit he hadn’t bothered to wash away in the Bus Terminal men’s room. It was never supposed to be like this but he couldn’t remember when life had ever been any different; his dreams had died so many years earlier that the memories were gone with no trace of the things he wanted. A fear of death, crushing in its weight and intensity gnawed at his insides before exploding into sickening panic; but then just as quickly that panic dimmed and his thoughts calmed. The man closed his eyes and let himself drift away, thinking that it wasn’t so bad – there were worse ways to die, and even worse ways to live.

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