A week passed without Sam seeing Ralph. He still came down to the subway every day, because where else was he going to go? He wasn’t meant for the outside, he knew. He wasn’t the kind of person who found much comfort in spending his days cooking in the sun, nights sleeping under the stars.
He’d met a few people like that back when he’d first lost everything. They were younger, mostly. More idealistic. More naïve. They saw the whole thing as a grand adventure, and themselves as temporarily inconvenienced at worst, engaged in some strange and challenging and ultimately uplifting spiritual journey at best.
But that wasn’t Sam. Instead, he had identified most with the guy that kept calling himself Meat and wept because when he waved his hands around and spoke gibberish, the animals in the park wouldn’t come and talk to him.
Sam hoped that guy was doing okay. He’d seemed really lonely. Sam had been lonely too, of course, but that guy clearly hadn’t known how to deal with it. Not like Sam. Sam knew exactly how to deal with it. You just went underground to the subway, to trains, to the tracks. That was exactly what he was going to do the day he met Ralph, in fact. He’d gone underground to cure himself of his loneliness. And in a way, he had. He’d found a kindred spirit in a bird. Ralph had its physical deformity and Sam had his spiritual one. They’d bonded despite speaking no common tongue. Just two wounded animals that had found each other.
And now Ralph was gone. Five days missing now. A day or two wasn’t unusual. Five was. Soon the loneliness would start creeping in again, but for now, Sam had to be patient. He had to wait for his friend, french fry in hand and hope in his heart.
It was times like these Sam wished he had more in common with those idealistic kids from before. Those stupid, stupid idealistic kids.