There’s more to LGBT homeless youth than the stereotypes used to describe them. A deeper level exists – a level the Reciprocity Foundation wanted the world to see.
The foundation, which is dedicated to helping homeless, runaway and foster care youth in New York City, started a project titled “See Me: Picturing New York’s Homeless Youth” in an effort to give the youth control of their image. Co-founder Taz Tagore hopes the photos will shatter stereotypes associated with the group.
when you die, every time someone thinks of you, you get a signal telling you that you have been just remembered. Everyone around you gets a couple of signals every day. You passed away a year ago. Still nothing @writing-prompt-s
Jared had been young when he died. He was still young. He hadn’t aged a moment since he died. A homeless young man, he’d passed without company or comfort on a cold winter night over a year ago.
He wasn’t upset by it. He was much more comfortable in the afterlife than he’d been on earth. No cold, no hunger, no pain… his first introduction to Heaven was a black angel with a soothing manner who comforted him and showed him to the buffet (which was delicious).
But over his first dinner, Devin (his angel guide) had explained the memory bells. The bells that would ring whenever someone on earth thought of him. Every soul had their own bells… not physical brass bells, but a musical ring that would sound around your body.
The first few days, Jared had not thought anything of his silent bells. His body may not have even been found yet. A couple weeks went by and he felt a little saddened that not a thought had been spared for him. Not even the people he saw regularly… his presence was apparently not missed. Not at the food shelter, not at the corner store he sold flowers in front of, not in the alley where he tried his hardest to take care of the more elderly homeless people.
Nobody thought of him. Ever.
He was a loner in Heaven, but he was friendly enough to be liked by the people he saw. And he heard the musical sounds several times a day as he passed by others or stood in a crowded public area.
There was one old woman whose bell rang three times a day. Once in the morning, once at exactly 5pm, and once at night. And this still happened fifteen years after she passed. She was waiting for her husband to join her and he obviously still loved her just as strongly as he did when she lived.
It was a year since Jared’s death and his bell had never rung. Not once. If it hadn’t by now, it never would and he just had to live with it.
About six months after his very depressing one year death-aversary, he was eating and vaguely listening to the conversations around him when a chime of bells sounded close to his ear. Closer than ever before, surrounding him. And it startled him into falling out of his chair.
“You okay? Not expecting a memory bell that early in the morning?” Chad, another guy about Jared’s age, asked. Jared liked him, but they didn’t have much in common as Chad seemed to have had a very financially successful life before he died during a bungee jumping accident. He was now reaching down to help Jared stand up.
“N-no… me? Mine? I mean… those were MY bells?” Jared asked with wide eyes as he stood up. Chad’s answer was to laugh and nod. “But I’ve never… I’ve been here a year and a half and nobody has thought of me. Not once.”
“Not once? Huh… well, I guess someone’s thinking of you now.” Chad shrugged.
“But… who?” Jared asked. Chad gave him a look that said “seriously?” and rolled his eyes.
And Jared found himself in the memory records room for the first time since entering Heaven. His file was… thin. One record of memory. From his first ever boyfriend. Before graduating high school. Before Jared left his home town to work his dream job. Before the recession ended that job and Jared had been too proud to go back home and had faded into the background of New York City.
“Excuse me?” He begged attention from the attending angel in the room. “Is there a way to find out more information for a memory ring? Um… context?” He asked.
“Oh, yes… you can check the digital copy of your file. It has more information than the paper copy.” They pointed to the row of computers that looked like they came out of 1989.
Jared thanked the angel and went to the computers… complete with the green screens he remembered from childhood. He typed in his name and found his one lonely memory.
Jensen Ackles - while cleaning his home, found a yearbook with a lengthy inscription from Jared Padalecki, and fondly remembered their first kiss.
As he was reading, the bells went off again and Jared was able to appreciate it and the warmth that accompanied it. As the bells rang, his file updated before his eyes. It was a continuing thought process, apparently, because he could hear the bells continuing almost in song around him as the text appeared on screen.
Jensen Ackles - wondered whatever happened to his first boyfriend, searched on google, was unable to find anything beyond a social media profile that had been abandoned four years earlier. undeterred, Jensen continued to search and found Jared’s last known location was New York City.
As the bells slowly died down, Jared was surprised and a little bitter. If he’d still been alive, maybe he and Jensen could have had a second chance. Sure, maybe he was reading too far into a passing curiosity on Jensen’s part, but Jared didn’t have much else to think of at the moment.
Over the next few days, he would get a couple of quick memory bells. They were small and random. It would be ridiculous for him to keep going back to the records room, but he appreciated the thoughts. He didn’t feel so left out of the Heavenly crowd.
But after a couple weeks of little comforting chimes from his memory bells, he was awakened by a ringing that didn’t stop. He dragged himself out of his bed and walked to the records room to see what was happening.
He was alone at the row of ancient looking computers, fingers clicking away on the keyboard as he brought up his file.
Jensen Ackles - with a bit of investigating, Jensen found an officer who recognized a picture of Jared as a homeless young man he’d found one morning on a basic patrol. Jensen was distraught and asked many questions, not satisfied by the officer’s answer that it wasn’t uncommon to find the bodies of homeless people in the winter. Jensen lamented his lost opportunity for a second chance with Jared.
The bells continued to ring and the entry kept growing. Jared scrolled up and read through all the smaller bells he’d not read about. Jensen had been searching for Jared since that first day.
“Wow…” Jared breathed.
He didn’t know what to think of that. He felt bad for the way Jensen found out about his death, but he couldn’t do anything about it. And as far as Jared was concerned, that was the end of it. He exited his file and went to the buffet. He wouldn’t be able to fall asleep now… and the bells were still ringing, softer and more musical… but they still rang.
After that day, Jared’s bells seemed to even out… they sounded more like everybody else’s bells. A ring or two each day. But he knew the rings were from one person instead of many.
And then, a few months after that, they stopped. Abruptly. Mid-ring…. instead of slowly dying or fading out as usual, the musical chiming just stopped.
He could feel his own face pale as he thought of the ramifications.
“Devin!!!” He yelled, looking for the angel who greeted new souls. “Devin!” He ran through the halls, needing to get to the first place Devin always brought people… the buffet.
“Dev-!” His voice cut off as he saw the angel, his big smile aimed at someone enveloped in the angel’s warm armed embrace.
“Jared, hey… I was just showing this guy to the buffet. Jared, this is-”
“Jensen.” Jared softly finished for him.
“Ah… well, why don’t you show him around…” And Devin backed away with a knowing grin.
“Jared…?” Jensen asked, his voice was small… a little overwhelmed.
“What… why are you here?” Jared asked in return.
“Um… cancer. It was found too late to actually do anything. That’s what I get for not ever going to the doctor.” Jensen shrugged.
“But… the bells? Oh, um… there are these memory bells. Everybody has them… you hear them when someone thinks about you. You were the only one who ever triggered my bells. Why?”
“I… after I found out I was dying, I was cleaning up my apartment and getting ready to just… do whatever. Then I found a yearbook and I wanted to find you. I figured… if I was going to die, I had nothing to lose by finding you again. Maybe have you with me when I… when I went. But you’d already died… so… I just kept you with me inside as my time got shorter.” Jensen shrugged.
Jared smiled. He was sad that Jensen had died, but he was happy that he now had his second chance. They both did.
Waylon was curled up under a sleeping bag someone was nice enough to hand to him a week or so back, saying something about not needing it anymore and mentioning how he looked freezing and sick. The young man hadn’t left the warmth of his new bed since. Cheeks flushed red and eyes tired and bloodshot, Waylon sneezed softly, pulling the warm fabric higher around himself.
The sun got blocked off as a body stood over him, forcing Waylon to crack his eyes open and glance upwards at the stranger. He didn’t look very well off either… maybe he was just like him, without a place to call home.
“C-Could you p-please… move t-to the si-i– achoo! ..side? Y-You’re blocking off the… heat…”
This girl looked so happy getting her vest signed by Frank I couldn’t resist taking a picture, she and these group of girls were so nice to me and included me in their group at the show in Salt Lake City. Thank you guys, you are wonderful people
I just had a horrible smut idea and I don’t know if I should write it or not, but just picture homeless Stanley having to do ‘tricks’ and long nights selling his body, and winding up in a college town where he’s ‘bought’ by a few college Students, tied up and used in the Library and left there, and who should find the blind folded, gagged ‘hooker’?
#HandsOffTheHomeless: Faith leaders, politicians, community organizers, and civil rights advocates gathered in front of City Hall to demand an end to the NYPD’s “sweeps” of homeless people from public space and other instances of inhumane treatment of the homeless by police.