"See what?" I whisper trying not to awaken the girl.
"She's dreaming..." He says in a faraway voice.
I crinkle up my eyebrows in confusion, "How do you know?"
He looked at me. His eyes were a cloudy grey. His eyes were weary- he had suffered pain in life. But his eyes held on to something more. Hope.
He turned his eyes back on the girl. "Watch her." He said quietly. I turned my gaze onto the little girl. Her chest moved up and down evenly and her little arm clutched her stuffed pet. Her sweet little lips stood still. Her nostrils moving slightly with each breath. And then the girl smiled. The ends of her mouth turning up in a beautiful way. I smiled. "I see now. You say she's dreaming because she's smiling."
"No that's not why."
"Because of the way she holds her pet. Softly yet with protection. If she was having a nightmare she'd be clutching it. If she was just sleeping she'd let it go. But she's dreaming. That means she needs her pet-not in fear but in love. We hold on to the ones we love."
I looked at the man in bewilderment, "You are different." I say. "You're not like the others here." I say gesturing to the group of homeless people around me.
"You're right." He says. He looks at me again. "I'm a dreamer. But I've had nightmares too. The difference between the two is in dreams you get to keep the people you love. In nightmares you loose them. But in both you still want to hold them close."
I nod. "I guess you are right."
The man stood up out of the old rickety seat he sat in. "I am. Don't ever under-appreciate the ones you love. You need loved ones to dream." and then he walked away. I could see his shoes; they were torn and dirty. I looked down at my own two feet. My shoes were the same. I looked around me at all the homeless people here. And I looked at us differently then I had before. We'd all lost something. Family. Friends. We'd had nightmares. But here we were still alive. Still hoping; still dreaming. Because we still had each other. And no matter how many nightmares knocked us down we'd stand up back together and just keep on dreaming.
Keep on loving.
I smiled to myself. Those man's words had been odd and unusual. But they were true. My eyes turned to the sweet girl still sleeping on the ground beside me."Sweet dreams my dear girl. Keep on loving. Keep holding on to hope. Keep on dreaming."