Living Without the Crack [Part 2]

An old lady dropped a silver coin for the beggar.

I shook as the coin made contact with the older ones I was holding, and woke from my reverie.

The dream has ended. The trumpet’s song was gone and the noise of the busy street filled my ears once again.

I glanced at the sleeping beggar beside me and sighed. How great it would have been if I were truly free…

But dreams are just dreams.

With an eye still closed, the beggar rose and his soiled hand reached for me. If I could only run away, I’d do it that instant. Anywhere was better than his filthy shelter under the broken bridge…

I longed for another land. A land I could call home… Somewhere near Him, my Potter.

I sighed and stopped the daydream before it went too far again.

“You’ve earned well.” The beggar told me, half pleased. “But you have to work harder.”

He rose to his feet and there was no need to guess where we were going. I knew he’d take me to the marketplace.

*

It was a busy day as usual.

The good thing about having a dirty vagabond with you is that you didn’t have to squeeze your way in, for the people would just automatically create a pathway for you. Nobody wanted to be anywhere near the beggar I was with. He never took it personally though. He has always been proud and haughty about this one little perk.

I got used to it all. The murmurs we instigated and the glances we summoned as we passed… They could really make you feel smaller and dirtier than you already were. But the beggar would just mockingly grin at all of them, with pride in his rotting moldy teeth.

As he scanned the place, a young girl who was looking longingly at a colorful flower lollipop caught his attention. With me tucked in his arm, he playfully tiptoed towards the little girl until we were next to her, but she was too engrossed to notice. He was about to touch her black curly locks when a furious woman came and tugged the girl away from him.

The woman gave the beggar a look of absolute distaste and hurriedly left the place. His eyes followed them… and I thought I saw the hint of longing on his face….

“Shoo! Get out of here, stinking beggar!” Yelled the plump owner of the candy stall.

He retaliated by spitting right at the owner’s livid face, and then there was buzzing around the marketplace. The humiliated owner, after recovering from shock, lifted her wooden chair with livid eyes locked on her target. The beggar ran for his life, bumping everyone who blocked his way.

We hid at the narrow street across the marketplace. He sat, panting, and placed me on his side. I was not sure if he was just breathing heavily or he was trembling at that time. He was covering his face with his hands.

He was actually crying… it was the first time that I saw him in such state and it felt strange.

For the longest time since I was “stolen” by this beggar from the Potter’s exhibit, I’ve had this belief that no other fate was worse than mine. I was only aware of my own misery, my own pain… my own pitiful story.

Could it be possible that there existed a heart that was more miserable than mine?

I had no idea why the man beside me was crying, but seeing him in that state made me change the way I felt toward him… a bit.

I then heard light footsteps coming near us, and I was relieved to see that it was not the candy shop owner but a man. The stranger stopped in front of the beggar, knelt to the ground, and took the crying man in his arms.

I was amazed.

What kind of person was he, that he would willingly touch a crying beggar on the street?

The stranger faced me, and it seemed like time stood still.

“Potter’s Son?” I asked, bewildered.

 

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