September 9, 2010: 11:59 pm
It was the only vacant spot. It overlooked an empty plot that had received a generous dose of trash and foul-smelling litter.
He flicked the headlights off, and darkness descended.
The store she wanted to go to was a little walk away, and she slid out, muttering something about waiting for her in the car. Which we did.
There was conversation. Mostly general. A mention of films, of Macbooks and food.
She returned before we knew it. Hopped back in and we were ready to pull out.
He switched the headlights back on. And instantly, they fell on a boy. Dressed in rags. The bright flare made him shrink back with a hand over his eyes. And with the other, he seemed to be tugging a piece of cardboard that he hastily pulled around himself, as if trying to hide.
We froze at the sight of him; our minds flooding with all the same questions: who was he? Why was he alone? and, what was he doing in a filthy stretch of land at this time of the night?
"I think we should go ask him."
"He might be homeless."
"He might be hungry."
"Should we give him something? It's Eid, after all."
"I think I have a few hundred bucks."
"Okay, go give it to him, then."
I stepped out of the car.
The boy was still cowering under the piece of broken box.
The ground beneath me crunched as I walked. It could have been gravel, but I wouldn't have known. There was a trash can to my side that smelt of vomit. My gut churned slightly at the stench.
I approached him steadily. He looked up to see who it was.
"What are you doing here?" I asked as softly as I could, while fumbling in my pocket for the money.
He mumbled something that I couldn't make out.
"Huh?" was the honest reply from me.
He turned a slight red, and repeated what he had said, this time louder.
"Sir...I am peeing."