The beggar’s orchestra

We cross the street, passing a beggar whose body is paralyzed and is listening to classical music that comes out of a little radio. I’ve seen him before, in the same spot, listening to the same beats, hardly blinking. I’ve always wondered what life means for us. And now as I pass this man, this man who has given up on living and is only breathing with Mozart and Bach, I wonder what life means for those like him, for the beggars and the poor. What does life mean for the woman I see sitting on the curb, always holding a cup and shaking it as people pass by? Did they have dreams once and what made them give them up so easily? Isn’t America the land of dreams? Isn’t America the heaven we all prayed for? Surely they must have learned at some point in their lives that here in this land they can hold a job, at least a mediocre one to start with, make some money and find a cheap place to live in. Surely they didn’t dream of begging on different corners with plastic cups and cardboard boxes. Did they?
It seems as though the orchestra of life has failed this poor beggar; the only orchestra that he lives with is that of Mozart’s. Maybe it is in this symphony that he feels his heart beating.

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