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Monday, March 6, 2017

The Homeless Boy


  

Tired of staying inside, Celso went out into the garden. He liked to stand by the front gate watching the street, the movement of the cars and the people passing by.
 
That was when Celso saw on the other side of the street a sad-faced boy sitting on the curb. He was dirty, miserable and barefoot. Celso felt sorry for the boy who seemed to be about his age: eight years-old.

He opened the gate, crossed the street and went to where the boy was. Approaching him, he asked:

- Hello! Can I sit here with you?

The boy raised his head to see who was speaking and was surprised to see another boy his size. He shrugged his shoulders as if to say: Sit down. The street is public!
Celso sat down and began to talk to him.

- Why are you so sad?

- Why do you want to know? - replied the stranger with another question.

And Celso pointed with his finger:

- See that house there? That's where I live. I was watching the street and I saw you looking so sad that I could not stop myself from coming here. What happened?

The boy took a deep breath and said:

- It's a long story. My mother died and then my father desperate abandoned me. He went out into the world and I do not know where he is. I was sent to an aunt's house but I was left so hungry and suffered so much abuse that I could not take it anymore and ran away. Now I have nowhere to go and I'm living in the streets. When I'm hungry, I ask for food at the neighbouring houses. To sleep, I hide somewhere like under a bridge or an abandoned house.

Celso felt very sorry for the boy. He never thought there were children like him suffering so much!

- Do not move. I'm going to my house and I'll be right back! - he said to the boy.

He made a sandwich, poured a glass of milk with coffee1 and returned to the boy, handing them to him.

The boy's eyes sparkled when he saw the food. He devoured everything and then thanked Celso:

- Thank you. I was really hungry! And I do not even know your name!

- Celso. What about yours? - and he held out his hand towards the other boy.
- My name is Louis! You're cool, Celso!

The two of them began to talk. After a while, their friendship became so strong that Celso wished he could help Louis. So he asked Louis to wait again and returned to his house.

Celso had seen his father come home after work. He walked up to him and asked:

- Dad, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. Come with me!
 
The father was tired but agreed and accompanied his son. Then Celso showed him:

- Look, Daddy! That kid across the street needs help!

The father looked at the boy sitting by the curb and reacted in surprise:

- But, son! He's a homeless kid!...

Celso had his eyes moist so he turned to his father and considered:

- Dad, you were talking about Jesus the other day, and you said that we should love all people because they are our brothers, remember?
 
- You’re right, son. But we do not know who this boy is! He may have bad habits, he may even be used to stealing!... How can we trust someone we don’t know? - said the father, shaken by his son's argument.

The boy thought for a moment then pondered again:

- Dad, but if good people do not protect the bad ones, how can we exercise brotherhood?

The father, defeated by his son's new argument and moved by the greatness of his soul, embraced him and agreed:

- You’re right, son. If we consider ourselves Christians, we have to act as Jesus taught us.

They crossed the street and Celso's father talked a little with Louis, then he invited the boy:

- Louis, we want you to come to our house.

- Sir, I thank you for your kindness. But you do not know me, you do not even know who I am! -replied the boy, unable to believe his ears.

As he heard these words, Celso's father responded with emotion:

- I do not need to know you to realise you're a good boy. You will stay with us for as long as you want. You will go to school with Celso and have the life of every boy your age. If you ever hear from your father and choose to be with him, you will be free to do so. I'll do whatever I can to help you.

They crossed the street and, before entering the gate, happy but still undecided, Louis wanted to know:

- Sir, but what about Celso's mother? Will she agree?

- I'm sure she will. Do not worry.

They entered the house and the father explained the situation to his wife. When she saw the new guest, she smiled and hugged him. Then she asked Celso to grab some of his clothes for Louis so he could take a shower while she finished preparing dinner.

Half an hour later, Louis, now clean, well dressed and wearing new sneakers and alongside Celso entered the living room where the meal would be served. Everyone was happy. The father told the new member of the family:
- In the name of Jesus, welcome to our home!

 
MEIMEI

(Psychographed by Célia Xavier de Camargo on 19/03/2012.)
 

1 In some parts of Brazil, it is quite common for kids to have sweetened milk and coffee to drink as part of breakfast or with a snack. - Translator’s note.

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