CHAPEL HILL, NC — En route to the library at 1:00 am, Alexis Pikeny, sophomore biology major, said to friend Noam Suttons, “the struggle is real.” Lying defeated on a bench near Ye Old Waffle Shop, homeless man George Phillips nodded his head in agreement.
“Too true,” thought the 63 year-old man who had not eaten a hot meal since Saturday, “I haven’t seen a friendly face in years, and I can’t remember what it feels like for someone to care whether I live or die. It’s a struggle.”
“I’ve gotten, like, one hour of sleep the past few days,” complained Pikeny, as he walked past Phillips with frozen yogurt in hand.
“I can’t tell the difference between sleep and waking anymore,” thought Phillips. “Concrete hurts and dreams of the war still haunt me. It was rougher in the jungles of ‘Nam, but at least I had someone by my side.”
As they walked past the man suffering from worsening malnutrition, Suttons and Pikney also discussed their many friends “riding the struggle bus.”
Phillips, who has slept with all his possessions laid in a circle around him for the past 17 years and actually rides the bus, could not agree more.
“Old Seymour, he’s probably got it worse than I do,” thought the man who is yelled at by drunk college students most nights. “At least my mind hasn’t gone and I haven’t started stealing. I’m still me. I’m still a man.”
As the students strode on, Pikeny quipped, “I’m just holding on until midterms are over,” to which Suttons responded with a laugh, “but finals are right around the corner.”
“The winter is worst of all,” Phillips thought. “Guess it’ll be the struggle bus for a little while longer for me.”