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The Guardian of Third Avenue

A Short Story By South Bay Scribe VLSloan

Third Avenue Chula Vista

The Guardian Of Third Avenue

Sometimes I don’t see him for weeks and I wonder where he is.

He must cover several miles daily, walking silently up and down Third Avenue, wearing his heavy black peacoat with a hood. I don’t worry about him in the cold so much. It’s the blistering hot days I think of him most because he has the heavy coat on then, too.

The Guardian doesn’t stay in one place very long. You’re not allowed to. I know this because I heard a cop rousting another man–politely–from the doorway in an alcove of the Cox Cable building.

At this end of town, the Guardian makes his bed on the built-in concrete benches in front of the ATT building by the bus stop. It’s a good, if somewhat uncomfortable, bed. There is tree shade, it’s public and you can sleep beneath the concrete benches in case of rain.

But I’ve seen him much farther south, as much as five miles farther.

I used to say hello or good evening when I passed by on my walks, but he never replied. His silence was scary at first, but I understood why he couldn’t acknowledge me. I usually say nothing now, unless I’m coming out of Von’s and he’s there and I have something portable I can give him, like yogurt or breakfast bars or something.

Our routine is: slight hesitation on my part, no response on his, then me shoving something into his hands and running away.

The Guardian of Third AvenueHe must think that I’m a crazy lady, swerving across the street if I’m in the car, jumping out with: “Would you like this?” Or, “I bought too many.”

And the truth is, I was for a while–crazy, that is–so I know about the food and the silence.

I’d like to take him home and let him take a shower, that seems like it would be the hardest thing about being homeless. But I am no longer the wild, carefree girl I was, living in my own house. I am older now and single, and I am much more careful about who I give my address to.

The other night, I was walking the long way around the block to my friend Anna’s house and I had two loaves of rye from the bread store. And there he was at his post. Walking fast as usual, I had to chase him down for half a block.

I was so glad I had two loaves that night. Because when I asked if he would like one, for the first time ever the Guardian looked down and I saw the vaguest flicker of a smile cross his face–not for me, for the bread. And then, after ten years, he made the only sound I had ever heard from him: Ahhmm.

I felt happy almost all the way to Anna’s.

Vicky Sloan

After returning to college several years ago for further study, VLSloan began writing full time when her work began winning contests. She joined a writing group that was starting up in Chula Vista soon thereafter – the group now known as South Bay Scribes.

A member encouraged Sloan to join a writing site called Wattpad. The site has enabled her to develop a large body of work, including, but not limited to – Short Stories, Serials, varied Poetry Collections and a newly featured mystery Novella called: Arachnia.

Wattpad allows interaction with not only readers, but with other writers and she has been fortunate enough to attain wide readership there. Known as sloanranger on the site, she now focuses her efforts on submissions and locating a Literary Agent. You can find VLSloan and her work by googling: Wattpad.com/sloanranger

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25 Responses to The Guardian of Third Avenue

  1. VLSloan September 13, 2015 at 9:00 AM #

    I’m subscribed !!

  2. Brian Groover September 13, 2015 at 10:52 AM #

    Wonderful story!

  3. Steve Kay September 13, 2015 at 2:51 PM #

    A great story,Sloan is a wonderful writer and friend ?

  4. glynhockey September 13, 2015 at 4:08 PM #

    This is a very well written piece. I loved it.

  5. KellySeale September 13, 2015 at 4:15 PM #

    This short story made me smile as I had a similar “Guardian ” in my hometown, we called “The Whistler ” Great story Sloanie ;)”

  6. Robert Alvarez September 13, 2015 at 8:32 PM #

    Gorgeous writing from a great writer.

  7. Lisa Cole-Allen September 14, 2015 at 12:30 PM #

    This well written story vividly demonstrates a human being doing God’s work. Despite trepidations, the speaker goes out of her way to help someone less fortunate.

  8. LouAnn Rice September 15, 2015 at 10:30 AM #

    This great piece of writing is a marvelous example of Ms.Sloan’s ever expanding body of works. She is able to write about many subjects and genres.
    This particular piece shows her ability to write about sensitive subject matter in a very touching way.

  9. Debarati September 16, 2015 at 11:24 AM #

    Hello friend,
    read your amazing short story. I loved it especially how you represented this homeless person as a guardian. It was heartwarming gesture. Good luck for future endeavours.

  10. pedometergeek September 16, 2015 at 5:33 PM #

    What a wonderful story that gives a new face to homelessness; thanks for sharing. Best wishes on all your writing endeavors. ~nan

  11. Shannon Kellie September 17, 2015 at 3:42 AM #

    So touching a story, deeply personal yet with such delicately and sensitively handled social commentary. Excellent, as always, Miss Sloan.

  12. Rohil September 17, 2015 at 5:54 AM #

    This is a brilliant narrative. A really heartwarming and wonderful take. Liked reading this a lot. 🙂

  13. @theattentivesoul September 20, 2015 at 5:29 PM #

    A lovely tale by an equally lovely author. I look forward to more of your work, as it always expands my spirit and finds the places that most need light.

  14. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:07 AM #

    @SteveKay – thank you Steve, for such kind support : )

  15. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:09 AM #

    @theattentivesoul – how kind you are to visit & such a lovely comment- thank you so much 🙂

  16. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:11 AM #

    Thank you @Rohill – your sweet words do me good 🙂

  17. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:13 AM #

    @ShannonKellie – so wonderful of you to come & comment – thank you, dear, Shannon :))

  18. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:15 AM #

    @RobertAlvarez- gorgeous, huh – thank you, Robert – I really do like that word, haha – especially when applied to my writing :))

  19. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:17 AM #

    @pedometergeek – you are very kind & I thank you so much!

  20. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:19 AM #

    @KellySeale – thank you, for coming &commenting Kelly, so good of you. Have you written about your ‘Whistler’ yet? Send me a link?

  21. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:22 AM #

    @glynhockey – and I thank you for your long time loyalty & support, good friend & poet extraordinaire :))

  22. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:24 AM #

    @SteveKay-Sometimes we meet people, in person or even online that are so kind we feel we’ve known each other along time. You are one of these, Steve.
    thank you.

  23. sloanranger September 21, 2015 at 8:29 AM #

    @theattentivesoul – I’m always thrilled to see you at one of my works; thank you, so much & for your kind comments which are, I think, often better than my pieces :))

  24. Mitoshi Nandi September 21, 2015 at 6:16 PM #

    This is a beautiful story, Sloan. I love how evocative it is.

  25. gailrunschke September 24, 2015 at 9:57 PM #

    A very heartwarming story, so well written.

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