Mark's story part 2

April 2, 2014

I decided to walk, mainly because I knew the neighborhood and was comfortable with the area. I walked 11 or so miles. By the time I arrived at the park, it was beginning to get dark, so I had to think about where I was going to sleep. I decided to try a park close to my old house where I used to play my conga drum on hot summer days. But when I arrived, I noticed gang members hanging around in the dark, so I moved on to another location. I continued walking to park after park. I just didn't feel safe in any of them. My feet were becoming swollen; I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I knew that the worst crimes in the city -- muggings, beatings, shootings -- happened at night to people living outdoors. I knew that when you sleep outside, you are vulnerable to just about everything. I was scared. Probably more scared then I have been or ever will be.I think it was around 3 a.m. when I finally found a park near a small shopping mall. It was empty, and the first place where I felt safe enough to lay down. Exhaustion quickly set in and I closed my eyes. I don't remember how much time had passed -- maybe 20 minutes -- when, suddenly, all the water sprinklers went off. I just laid there in disbelief, soaking. It's impossible to describe the mixture of fear, anger, vulnerability and, well, homelessness I felt as I lay there

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