Writing Prompt: Day 166

166.jpgDay 166 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about what’s inside a homeless person’s backpack.

Shannon: It had been weeks now and he never came back for his bag. I didn’t know what had happened to him. I’d hoped he was okay, but it was impossible to get reach him unless we could spot him in person. I’d looked for him everyday with a little flicker of hope he’d appear out of nowhere with that heartwarming smile I’d already missed seeing everyday, but it was like he disappeared.

“Do you mind if I look though his backpack,” I asked my boss at the shelter. “Maybe he left something behind that can help us find out if he’s ok.”

“Yeah, I’d say it’s been enough time, but please don’t get your hopes up,” she reminded me with a pat on the shoulder before walking away.

I picked the bag up with care, not wanting to do anything to wreck the only possessions the man had left on this earth. I unbuckled the strap on the top of the backpack that secured a rolled-up fleece blanket. It was so thin, how could it be his only protection from the cold? How was it his only protection from the world?

I unzipped the main pocket, and a stuffed animal was the first thing that caught my eye. My mind wandered, trying to understand why it something he’d held onto. Was it for comfort? Was it his pillow? Did it mean something to him?

He had a change of clothes in the bag too. They’d held a certain odor as expected, but it didn’t stop me. He also had some snack bags and granola bars, probably things people had offered to him the last day we saw him. At the bottom there was a water bottle, a cheap pair of promotional sunglasses, a winter hat, and a pair of gloves.

I checked the small pocket in the front and found a photo of him with a young child. He once explained to me the story of how his son died, and how his life had spiraled down ever since that day. He told me he was trying to turn it around, and find some kind of meaning again. He never showed anyone this photo. I didn’t understand. He kept it with him for so long, why would he leave without it now? It seemed as if he had left it behind for us on purpose, and that hurt my heart.

Erin: She had collected some essentials: a blanket for when the nights got particularly cold, a water bottle to collect fountain water, a phone for prospective job prospects, even a bus pass for trying her luck in new areas. Things were starting to look up. She could feel things happening. Good things happening.

What does your character keep with them?

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