On the other side of town the wind howled past the bridge, leaving no room for escape. A figure representative of a shadow slumped underneath, trying to stay protected from the wind on the muggy night. Lincoln Park was empty of another soul besides the one that lived there permanently. If one were to stand over the bridge they would no doubt be able to hear the grumbling of an empty stomach.
Liam Joseph may have been homeless, but he had always gotten by. His face was covered by the hood of a sweatshirt, visibly well-worn, but impeccably clean. If one were to have a closer look they may have seen the face of a boy who had to grow up too fast. He only was eighteen. Waiting under the bridge he checked his old fashioned wristwatch, the hands still ticked every minute.
At 8 o’clock he picked up his backpack and tread down North Stockton Drive to the gym he guarded during the night. SDLs zoomed past him, the autopilot driving around his form. He briskly walked on, keeping his hood down. Liam muttered to himself, “Chicago is called the windy city for a reason.”
Finished walking down the block he stopped in front of a store front. Wood panels braced against the walls, littering the wind with white fragments from the faded paint. A single horizontal window decorated the front, high enough that it served more as a sunlight rather than a visible looking glass.
Light glowed from within the building, signaling that the last gym members had yet to leave for the night. Liam walked up to the door and a bear of a man appeared, with a long beard covering most of his facial features. His size dwarfed the entryway, taking up more space than deemed possible. Nodding to Liam, he stepped back and opened the door wider.
“Didn’t get into any trouble today did you?” The large man asked, not actually expecting an answer. Liam never answered. Not out of disrespect, but more from the familiarity of such an action.
Liam had worked for Trug for over 2 years now, watching the gym at night to dissuade thieves from trying to steal the very expensive equipment. Being in Chicago thieves where always an issue, and Trug appreciated someone watching the gym when he wasn’t there.
For Liam, the gym was more than just a job, but a symbol of freedom. It provided a roof over his head, and a warm shower. Having accessibility to a gym gave him a way out of his situation, even if it was just for a little while. It didn’t hurt that he also used the gym equipment during his shift. He always was in a constant state of trying to pass the time.
Liam marched past, over to the door of the locker rooms to put his backpack away.
“Come out here when you are done!” Trug yelled through the door.
Liam strolled past the patrons finishing getting ready to leave for the night. Slamming of lockers, and rushing water was prominent in the room, along with the jostling of elbowing and name calling. His customary locker stood out to him in the room, open fully and empty. No one dared to use it, they knew the homeless guy always put his stuff there. They didn’t want to catch anything from the street.
Stuffing the locker full of his possessions he locked the door with a “click”. Liam turned around. Silence. Liam knew when he exited the room there would once again be noise, even more of it that there was to start with. Men were fucking gossips.
Striding out of the locker room Liam once again faced Trug.
“Just keep an eye out tonight. One of the local gangs has been trying to push product out south of the river. It’s been busier than normal lately around here.” Trug grunted out, not wanted to admit that he worried about the kid. Liam had proved himself more than once, but the older man only wanted the best for the high schooler.
“I’ll make sure the rest of the guys are packed up before leaving” After reassuring himself that Liam would be fine one more time, Trug left. Finally the silence that Liam was comfortable with. The silence of being alone.
Yay, update! Sorry it’s been such a while. Please let me know any feedback you have. It is very helpful in my creative process.