Mother and I got off the T at Fenway. The homeless roamed about outside 711. There was one, a bit off from the horde, sitting on the ground, eyes closed. Mother told me to go to that one. I did. The smell was thick and unpleasant.
“Excuse me, may I talk with you for a minute?” I said. He looked up. He was young. His beard was all patches, crowding his dirty face.
“Okay,” he said; his voice clear and pleasant.
“I have an assignment for school. I have to find someone less fortunate than myself and ask them how they ended up that way.”
The man frowned.
“So you think you are more fortunate than I?” he said, looking around himself and smiling. My cheeks burned, but I managed a half-nod.
“Hm. Well, good. If you must know, I am this way by choice. I am punishing myself.”
“For what?” I asked.
“For what my soul has done.”
He chuckled at the confused look on my face.
“I have the soul of Adolf Hitler,” he said without humor, “do you believe in reincarnation?”
I shrugged. “I think Mother does.”
“Smart lady. Well, I spent a long time exploring the idea of reincarnation. That led me to this festival, here in Boston. It was a sort of communal meditation to feed off of each other’s energy and see our past lives. And, as you might guess, I saw Adolf Hitler. I didn’t just see him. I felt him, all of his hate.
After that, I came right here to this spot, sat down, and here I will stay until the universe feels penance has been paid.” He smiled again, awkwardly.
“Penance?” I asked.
“Yes, payment for my sins. I thought about chopping off a limb or perhaps burning myself a little to speed up the process but, it seems Hitler was a coward as well.” He sighed.
“Oh, okay.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Is that what you needed?” He asked.
“I-I think so.”
“Lovely, well, have a nice day then.” The man who was Hitler laid down onto his side and began to snore. I turned around and found Mother standing next to the street. She saw me and quickly dropped her cigarette behind her back. I rolled my eyes and walked towards her.
“Get what you need?” She asked, chewing a bit of gum.
“Great! What should we get for lunch?”
“Sushi it is!”