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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hightower

Silver Lining

Updated: Apr 10

Derek had been homeless for nearly six months. He had lost his job, apartment, and sense of self-worth. Derek spent his days wandering the streets of downtown, searching for shelter and food. But even in the darkest times, he knew he couldn't give up. He had to keep fighting.

Derek knew that to survive, he needed to find places to hang out during the day where he wouldn't be seen as homeless. He started by going to Pete's Coffee, where he would order a cup of coffee and sit at a table for hours, pretending to read the newspaper or work on his laptop. He knew the employees there were used to seeing people come and go, so he blended in with the crowd.

When Pete's closed for the night, Derek will go to the 24-hour Fitness gym. He didn't have a membership, but he would stand outside, waiting for someone to come out, and then slip in behind them. Once inside, Derek would use the showers and the lockers to clean up and change his clothes. He knew he couldn't let himself look homeless if he wanted to blend in with the other gym-goers.

During the day, Derek would walk around the city, looking for other places to hang out. He stumbled upon a FedEx office, where he would sit in the waiting area, pretending to wait for a package or a friend. He even started carrying around a small box to make it look like he was there for a reason.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. Derek's routine became his life. He spent his days at Pete's, the gym, and FedEx, and nights on the streets, sleeping in alleys and doorways.

One day, as Derek sat at Pete's, sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper, he overheard a conversation at the following table. Two men were talking about a job opening at a local warehouse. Derek listened intently, hoping to catch any details that might help him.

As the men left, Derek approached them and asked about the job. To his surprise, they were willing to give him a chance, even without a proper address or phone number. Derek was ecstatic - this was his chance to turn his life around.

He started working at the warehouse the next day, and soon after, he could save enough money to rent a small apartment. He couldn't believe it; after months of homelessness, he finally had a place to call his own.

Derek continued to work hard at the warehouse, and eventually, he was promoted to a management position. He couldn't believe how far he had come in such a short time. But he never forgot the struggles of his past and the places that had helped him survive.

Every now and then, Derek would go back to Pete's, the gym, and FedEx to say hello to the people who had unknowingly helped him get through the most challenging time of his life. And every time he walked through those doors, he felt grateful for the kindness and understanding that had saved him from the streets.

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