The old one sat there, drinking his coffee, it should have been a joyous day. He had his housing voucher and that in it should have been enough to make him at least a little happy.

A man who slept across from him lay there asleep and snoring, the disembodied voice announcing the name of some faceless creature to report to another creature boomed over the loudspeaker and the old one just sat there writing.

Change, the old one had grown use to prison, he had grown use to the 2100, but now he had the chance to get an apartment. The old one was scared, he was unknown, he was one of many, and no one cared about what he had done, where he had come from. He ,his shame, his embarrassment, his humiliation was secure at the 2100, but out there, out there in the real world his own place everyone around him would know his shame.

When people on the street saw him, all they saw was a man a face they didn’t know where he was from they didn’t know he was from the 2100. They didn’t know he was a bum a homeless vagabond, he could handle those looks and stares but a look a stare a whisper from a neighbor those stares would crush him more so than he was now.

What was he to do? Contrary to popular beliefs, he did care what was said about him he tried very hard not to show how the pain pierced his heart, made him anguish over his very own existence.

What was he to do? Should he take the next step could he live with himself if he took that step or should he stay where he was where he knew his place where he knew he was safe?

He asked himself again, what was he to do? He shook his head and closed his eyes the old one died a little more today just as he had done a thousand times before.

He was surely unprepared, he thought, he wondered, how many others there were, some wore their shame as a medal, as a badge and they celebrated it by regaling their stories of woe. On the contrary, the old one wore his shame as an anchor around his neck. Surely, there was another path, he could follow, he looked around for the paths he looked for a sign that said enter here, pay your fare at the turnstile, and travel the path less traveled.

He thought about it, he put the voucher back in his pocket and headed back to where he was safe. Not today, he would wait for another day before he would venture out to find, not only a place to live, but also himself.