The old man couldn't work. He looked as if the only life left in him had retreated to his eyes. They shone like pale winter moons in a grey face. Grey skin - grey beard - grey eyes. He volunteered to cook reciting a resume of credentials fine enough for a Waldorf chef. Later it began to rain. Rick, Scooter, and Warren polished the floors to a bronze mirror. Sandy, Jill, and I stitched curtains. The old man retired to his cot with a gigantic hunk of cardboard from somewhere and bent over it a long time. That evening he hung an immense squash-yellow smiling-sun on the wall behind the board table. We had hot soup and cornbread.
More and more people came. Cots lined every wall. Some were belligerent red-eyed. They soon left - no drugs - no booze - no willing women. People like that can't believe that in our group we accept each other as brothers and sisters. There is no sex activity among us. From different routes of the street, with different reasons for being there, we have gravitated together by an affinity of attitude. We are a family of choice. Some people snicker and sneer. Predators knowing loyalty to none. Someone gave the old man a pathetic guitar with dangling strings. He fixed it. "No use" we said - " none of us know how to play it". He smiled as if we were children who had to be taught. "It means a musician will come" - he said. I like the old man. He's a lot smarter than he looks. Sometimes stars can be seen through the skylight when it's dark in here and outside too. Other times - it's cluttered - like the gym was about to boil over . . .