1 Waiting For The Grim Reaper To Take Me

River City.

Commuting hours. The city streets were bustling as one would expect them to be. People walked to and fro as they headed to their destinations.

White-collar workers headed to their workplaces, teens wagged school to waste away their lunch money on cheap arcades. Successful businessmen and businesswomen took their early morning coffee at their favorite café to kickstart their day.

No matter what the people were doing, they came from diverse backgrounds and carried on with their day-to-day lives.

It was on this type of bustling city street that homeless people could be seen idling away as they depended on the generosity of others to scrape by. A 25-year-old youth was also seen within their mix.

No one really knows how these homeless people ended up in their current situation, but it was certain that each had their own story to tell.

Generally, homeless people were divided into two types of people. The first were the people waiting to die, and the second were the ones still waiting for an opportunity to turn their lives around and start anew.

The 25-year-old youth was called Albion, and he belonged to the former group.

Normal kids his age would have already gotten a job and start looking into marriage with their partners, but not him. He was far from any of that.

Don't drink. Don't smoke.

Albion chuckled bitterly as he could vividly remember his parents lecturing him on these two points for years as they stressed the importance of health.

He used to get annoyed at their constant nagging, but now, he missed hearing those words dearly.

No, his parents might be getting on in their years, but they are still alive and well. He simply left home to become homeless on the city streets by choice.

He had an average family with two loving parents, an elder sister, and a young brother. They were neither wealthy, nor were they poor. Just well enough for him to receive weekly allowances since the start of high school.

They were better off than those less fortunate.

Like any other normal kid, he began to start partying out with friends at the age of 18. It was the age when drinking and smoking become legal.

At this age, it was normal for kids to be a little rebellious. He got into drinking because of his friends and also picked up smoking due to his hot girlfriend.

It was ridiculous and naïve of him to have thought he could get his girlfriend to quit by smoking her cigarettes. Not only did he failed, but he also got himself addicted to smoking with her.

He was quite the pathetic lad.

Until this day, he was still unsure how someone like him managed to score the hottest girl in his math class during those college days. She was the only girl in that math class, but that is not the point.

The point was someone average like him managed to get a girlfriend. How?

Although their relationship ended after three years due to many miscommunications and empty promises, he could not keep, the time he spent with her were the best moments of his life.

He still loves her to this very day.

Until this point, his parents had always been aware that he would drink out when he party with his friends, but they were never aware that he smoked. Or perhaps they knew at some point but chose to keep their silence.

After five years of smoking, he finally quit two years ago. However, life was a joke. Although he stopped, the damage was already done. He contracted cancer.

If he had been proactive, he could have been saved. Unfortunately, he had always been a passive and indecisive person that leave things to chance and hope.

As the days passed, he noticed he was becoming older and not in the normal sense. He felt like an old man—both mentally and perhaps, physically.

Health problems appeared one after the other, poor digestion, bad back, bad hip, and bad knees. Perhaps, he really was becoming an old man.

His energy declined, and his body became more and more reluctant to move. Though he never really noticed. His world already turned grey and stopped moving since the day his girlfriend left him.

Many are able to move forward after their breakup, but not him. He couldn't. He was frozen in time.

Up until that point, he was still naïve to believe he would spend the rest of his life with her, his first love. Get married, have kids, and grow old together. But no, that won't be happening. Not now, not ever.

He disappointed her too much. He did not deserve her. She was a hard worker while he was just a lazy and useless bum.

It took two years for him to muster the courage to confirm the truth with the doctors, but to be honest, it was a little too late. Cancer had metastasized. That was the real nail in the coffin.

He fucked up.

He did not know how to break the news to his family and friends. He did not want them to agonize over his slow but inevitable death.

That was when he decided to leave home and cut off all contact with them. He was too cowardly to end his life, so he could only choose to hide away in the city with the other homeless until death takes him.

It was a selfish choice, but he had always been a selfish person.

He was of oriental ethnicity, but he had the genes of a gorilla. With his unkempt hair and beard as thick as the Amazon Rainforest, it was hard for anyone to recognize him.

"Hey, Kid. You're still here? Isn't it about time you head home already? Don't you know your parents are missing you dearly?" A homeless middle-aged man said.

He sat down beside Albion and tore a burger in half before passing one half to Albion. Albion accepted the burger graciously.

"Thanks, Uncle. I know they miss me, but I don't have the heart to let them watch me slowly die." Albion said.

It had been two months since he joined the homeless circle.

He used to look down on homeless people who were the bottom rung of society. However, it was precisely these homeless people that have kindness as boundless as the ocean.

They did not hesitate to sacrifice their own food and changes to help him out until he adapted to the homeless life.

The real trash of society is people like him who had a good starting point but waste away his life doing stupid shits.

"You—Haiz..."

The homeless man shook his head and sighed. He naturally understood Albion's condition.

"Don't you think you are unfair to them by doing this? It is precisely because your time is limited that you should spend every moment wisely. When you depart this world, do you know how much they would grieve and regret not being able to spend time with you during your final moments?"

Albion's body visibly shook.

However, he was firm in his decision.

"Sorry, Uncle. I know you mean well, but I have already decided. I hope they will never have to find out when I die. I know my choice is very selfish, but please let me continue to be selfish until the end."

"You—Haiz, whatever. It's your choice."

The homeless man disapproved of Albion's decision but still respected his choice.

Suddenly, the weather drastically changed.

Looming grey clouds blotted out the sun, and crackling thunder roared furiously as the sky darkened with a dull taste and began its heavy downpour.

"What kind of situation is this? I have never seen the weather change so rapidly in all my life!" The homeless man was shocked, but so was everyone else.

"Maybe the Grim Reaper is coming for me." Albion joked.

Shortly after, he frowned.

The downpour came too suddenly. People were scrambling across the streets to take cover. The lights had turned red, but the ongoing traffic showed no sign of slowing down to a stop.

"What are those drivers doing? Are they blind? Can't they see the red lights? Someone is going to get hurt at this rate!" The homeless man chided.

At that moment, a lady in high stilettos tripped in the middle of the road. She quickly got back up but froze at the sight of the oncoming truck.

"This is bad!"

The homeless man and Albion were not too far from the pedestrian crossing.

Just as the homeless man prepared to rush over, someone else reacted even quicker than him! Albion lunged over and shoved the lady of the way.

"Watch out, kiddo!"

Bam!

The truck driver did a hard brake at the last moment, but it was already too late. Albion was struck flying and rolled down the asphalt road amidst the heavy wet rain.

As Albion laid motionless on the road, he felt immeasurable pain and coldness. His body refused to respond as his mind tried to make sense of what happened.

'Ahh, so I was struck by Truck-kun. What a typical way to end my life.' Albion thought self-mockingly.

'If I get another chance, I promise to treasure it and live a fulfilling life!'

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