Rum pum pum pum.It’s faint, but it’s there. A quiet, rhythmic beat that blends into the night. How this old man heard the sound is beyond me. “You hear it, don’t you?”
With a nod, I look around, hoping to find the source of the sound. The man points toward the coffee shop’s covered alleyway.
“Back there,” he says.
The carolers begin their rendition of “O Holy Night,” and once again, I hear the “rum pum pum pum” coming from the darkness.
Intrigued, I step away from the old man and walk slowly toward the alley. Each step brings me closer to the beat, until finally, I see a little boy, nestled in the corner. His only light comes from a lantern, and a snare drum rests in his lap. The drum is scarred and the strap is frayed, but it’s obviously his most prized possession.Probably his only possession.
Does he live here? In this filthy alley? And where are his parents?
His clothes are dirty and ragged, and the faded blue jacket he wears is about three sizes too big.“Shall I play for you?” he whispers.