The boy walked the streets in the not so respectable part of the city but he didn't care, he almost belonged to these streets. So much as the holes in the asphalt, the puddles of mud and the garbage cans, he was also a part of the dirt. He was fourteen years old and today was his birthday. The night was dark and cold and while he walked, protecting himself the best that he could in his old coat, he asked himself if the cold of the night could overcome the coldness of his soul, if he still had a soul. Today was his birthday and fuck the world, he deserved a present. He smiled when he looked at the package which he carried carefully in his hands. Besides the package the only thing he owned was a backpack with the few personal objects that he possessed. He walked, walked fast, walked the fastest that he was capable of because today he didn't want to belong to this place, to these streets. Today he wanted to just be Scott, a normal boy who could spent the night in a clean bed. Scott went on a train and sat down in a wagon which was almost empty and put his backpack on the seat besides him and took the package on his knees. He always avoided other peoples glances, always tried to ignore them, but sometimes he looked to see if he could catch the children's glances. Some weeks ago, a baby had smiled at him, it had not been a smile without importance but a brilliant smile with warmth. A smile which gave the receiver of the smile the will to smile as well, a pure smile. He knew that he had smiled that way once, maybe like that baby he has been in the arms of his mother smiling for strange peoples without judging them or to fear them, but that had been a long time ago and he could not even remember his mother's face. He didn't remember his brother's face either. He had lost his parents in a airplane accident, in the orphanage he lost his only brother and on the streets, he lost his innocence. Nothing could change what had happened, nothing could change what he was now. He tried to block those thoughts out of his mind. Th
He made his way outside of the station and after some blocks on foot, he stopped before a building built in old style. He stopped one moment to look at the clean and well taken care of facade. He had passed this way before and every time this building had won his attention. He had never thought that a hotel could look as beautiful as this building. If he had a house, it would be like this. Scott sighed and went up the few steps which lead to the entrance door.
«This will go right, this will go right» he thought, it was a request...or was it a prayer? No...his prayers were never heard, none of them, so one day he had stopped asking. He entered the lobby of the building and walked up the counter, in the way, he arranged the coat and passed the hand in his hair to seem more presentable. He was clean but his clothes were simple and he didn't have a document to present that certainty will seem a little suspect. He approached the counter and spoke to the man which read a book on the other side.
"Excuse me, sir. Good evening. I would like a room, please." His voice hid his fears and sounded soft and insure. The man lifted his head and looked at the boy in front of him. He arranged the glasses which had slipped for the point of his nose and tried to study the boy's expression a little more.
«Young, no doubt, maybe fifteen or sixteen. Thin, very thin actually, perhaps due to the growth phase. No, there is nothing to worry about from this one. He seems a normal boy, « the man thought as he studied Scott.
"Please fill out the form. For one night only?"
"Uhmm...Yes sir, my parents will come back tomorrow and then I will go home." Scott gave his best smile.
"Ok, do you want to pay now?"
Scott gave the money and the form with a false name. The man studied the data a little, and it made Scott's heart beat wildly in his chest. He wanted this so much, to be in this place for one night, even though he knew that the following day he would have to sleep in the streets if he didn't get some good and generous customer. The man placed the paper on the counter and went back to the keys behind him.
"Room 302, boy," he said and put the key into Scott's hand and Scott could breathe normally again. "Thank you, sir. Uh...could I order to get a cup of coffee sent up, please?"
"In some minutes, ok?" Scott nodded.
"Thanks and good night".
He walked to the elevator, carrying his backpack and his package. The elevator took him to the third floor where his room was. He looked at the runner's soft illumination and walked slowly to admire it before he reached his room. He looked at the key in his hand and with some difficulty due to the package that he carried, managed to open the door. His free hand fumbled in search of the light switch, when he reached it and the light invaded the room, he didn't contain himself;
"Fuck, this is beautiful".
The room was a mansion compared to the motels of fifth category that he frequented when the money allowed it. Most of the time, though, the street was the only solution. He stood in the door of the room and looked at the bed, the two armchairs in old style placed around a round table done in dark wood with a brilliant surface protected by glass and in the center, a delicate arrangement of flowers. To the left of the table was the entrance to the bathroom. Scott closed the door behind him and left the package on the table. He released the backpack on one of the armchairs and felt the softness of the fabric. He headed for the bathroom and open the door, the place was not very big but had the same beautiful simplicity as the rest of the room. He smiled when he turned on the shower «Hot water!». His mind began to appreciate the perfect proportion applied in the division of the rooms. It was not without reason that the building had attracted his attention. It was a small masterpiece of proportion and beauty. The beats in the door passed Scott's mathematical evaluations. Closing the door to the bathroom, he headed to the main door. An employee with a tray brought his coffee.
"Excuse me, sir." he said and entered and placed the tray on the table beside the package. "Good night sir."
When the door closed, he walked to the table and began to undo the package. He kneaded the paper and took put it in a small garbage can in one of the corners of the room.
"Anything but dirt, boy," he said in a low voice. He returned to the table and sat down in one of the armchairs. For one moment, he adjusted himself to the comfort and sensations. In the center of the table stood the cup of coffee, a beautiful decorated cup, and the small birthday cake he had just unpacked. He looked at the objects for some time, it was so beautiful, everything he wanted for himself. He had nobody to cut the cake for him, but fuck, he never had had. In the orphanage he had lived alone because his brother had been adopted away without him, ever since, he had hoped to be chosen by a family too, but all had backed away when they had discovered the problems with his eyes and his head injury. When finally a family had shown interest in him another airplane accident had killed them and with them his opportunity of being loved again. He been very saddened my their deaths. When receiving the news of the his future parents' death and that he would be put back in the orphanage, he had fled. He could not face the shame of returning abandoned and alone again. The scorn glances, the comments and the laughter behind his back, the others saying that he gave bad luck to everybody, saying he was ugly with his red glasses and calling him a freak. Scott shook his head trying not to remember it. He had fled almost a year ago and remembering did no good. Now he was hungry and wanted to eat his cake and pretend for a while. He opened the backpack and took forth three things: a disposable plate, knife and fork. He also took forth a little box of candles and placed fourteen of them in his cake and lit them carefully. He looked at the cake with the lit candles and thought that now would be the time to sing but he could not. The music was not for him. Nobody cared with the date or with him. He knew that with the life he lead now, he would be dead before he reached thirty. Maybe found in an ally, near the garbage cans or in a room of a cheap motel.
Time to wish, was is not? Almost unconsciously he closed his eyes and wished;
«I want chance, just one fucking chance. I don't insist on having a father or mother, I only want some respect...some love, a little serves...I would be very thankful if I got that.» He open his eyes behind shades and blew out the candles, wiping the tears which had formed in the corner of his eyes away before they rolled down his face.
"Happy birthday, Scott," he just murmured before cutting the cake and this time when he felt tears in his eyes he didn't care and let the tears run freely down his face. It didn't matter where he was, here, in a cheap motel or on the streets; he was still alone. And he hated that, but maybe if his wish was heard, if that happened...who knew what kind of person he could become.