Kevin stumbled a bit as he hurried along the dark, rain-swept street. He yawned, man, I’m tired. Just then a white Toyota pulled up beside him and stopped. The passenger-side window rolled down and his friend, Donovan, said,
“Hey, man, come on, get in. We’re going to have a bite at Harry’s.”
Kevin stopped and said, “Not tonight, guys, I got someplace to go.”
“Yeah, sure,” said Donovan. “You’re going to go hang out with all those creeps again?. Probably half of them are crooks. Come on, you don’t really want to go there. ”
Kevin shivered in the cold rain, thinking of the warmth of Harry’s, the relaxation of just hanging out. He said, “Yeah, I do. Gotta go, guys. See you later.” As the car pulled away he turned down a dank alley that led to another dark street, only slightly worse than the one he just left. A tidy but somewhat shabby building stood at the end of the street.
He hurried inside. The warm air smelled of unwashed bodies, wet clothes and despair. Overriding all this, however, was the fragrance of hot soup, an onion/broth aroma that sent Kevin’s taste buds tingling.
“Hi Kevin,” said a brisk woman in a soiled apron. “Nice to see you.”
“Yeah,” responded Kevin. He walked toward a couple of tables stacked with of clothing. Rummaging through them, he quickly sorted sweaters, pants, jackets, hats into neat piles. By this time several people had gathered around and were also sorting through the clothing. Kevin shrugged, left them to it and went to the kitchen. A line of people were waiting for bowls of hot soup. He walked past them and stood at the counter next to a tall, thin fellow scraping carrots.
“Yo, Max, I’ll do that for you if I can have a bowl of soup.”
“Hey, Kevin, you here again?” Max handed Kevin the knife.
He pulled up a stool and sat down, stifling another yawn. It had been a long, hard day.
Three weeks later Kevin was given a certificate of appreciation for his steadfast work volunteering at the homeless center five nights a week in spite of holding down a full-time job.
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