Although age and poverty had taken its toll, when far away an interrupted cry woke him from his sleep, he shuddered. He knew he lacked boundaries, was too easily empathic. That tendency had led him to panhandling in the evening of his life. It was getting more and more difficult to arise from his seated position on the sidewalk and retrieve his upturned hat from the pavement before him.
Someone at the Center had stolen his flute, so he had nothing left to offer passersby than the one song he could remember all the words to, Old Man River.
The children still stood round and begged their parent for a dime to drop into his hat. The children stared. The adults avoided his eyes. He thanked them all.