The Man with an Old Guitar

I wake up like I always do, in a cold sweat. I have a problem with nightmares. I don't know why, but it seems to be incurable. My nightmares aren't normal ones, like, "Oh god, a t-rex almost ate me." They're about me turning on the people I love. I get up and fix a nutritious breakfast of Oxygen--yep, I'm broke. I just moved into an apartment by myself and I need a job. I grab my purse and set out on a quest to get a good job. Not like minimum wage, but just, I don't know. 

Uneven gritty sidewalk reaches through my thin shoes. I pass the new, but almost now familiar sights of graffiti. I pass the words GOKI, SICK, and some unreadable twists and spikes that make my morning a little brighter with the colors. I walk past a community part to see an older African American man wearing a tattered old denim jacket and brown pants. He's strumming an old guitar with the name Laurieli carved into it. I t makes me curious. I'm not one to talk, so I tell myself to keep walking. But my stupid mouth bursts, "Who's Laurieli?" I almost face palm right then and there, but he openly responds, "My wife, but she died before we could have children." 

"I'm so sorry," I say. Just then a man on a moped rides up and says, "You, sir, are trespassing!" with a nasty face. 

"This is city property," the man with the guitar counters, a bit crass. I scowl at the man who has the nerve to ask someone to move out of a public park. 

"Don't make a face at me, girl," says moped man. "If you keep your face like that, it'll stick. 
Enraged, I yell, "You learned from experience, did ya?" I cannot believe I did that. He was ugly though. His crazy thinning salt and pepper hair looked as if he never brushed it. His elfish features seemed crammed together at the bottom of his face, giving him a huge forehead. The man walked up to me. I tensed, then he slapped me and drove away. 

I hurriedly dropped a dollar into the guitar case and ran. Ran into the city, not sure where I was going, but feeling guilty for not talking to the guitar man.

 

Richmond, VA

This is a 13 year old girl from Virginia