They live amid the banyans in the park under man-made tents of cardboard and broken surfboards. They saunter along crisp, sun-dried grass and scorching white sand and a searing-hot sidewalk under a magnificent blue sky. A delicious lemon-tart yellow sun appears protective of the bright and brilliant rainbow curving wide and far beneath it. The multihued arc promises a better tomorrow—for us and them.
Bob believes that. He’ll return to his home state in a little while. Just as soon as he collects enough cash, as soon as he can stop spending it on booze. He likes his alcohol. Many of us do, but unlike us, Bob drinks to ease the pan and loneliness; we drink to toast friends and rejoice in good fortune.
Bob is an “undesirable” in Canada and he’s not hat much more “desirable” in the States. Some people care, offer a smile and a small handout, say hello or buy him a bite. Others ignore him as if he’s transparent or dog poop left by a careless, unthinking owner alongside a curb.
Being homeless isn’t a choice; it’s a misfortune. Sure, sometimes the factors that push them onto the streets could be avoided or addressed before it’s too late but sometimes, sadly, shit just happens. Like dog poop alongside a curb.
Bob would love another chance, if he could lay off the alcohol. It consumes him as he does it: liberally. He’s a nice guy; he’s got heart and soul, as we all do. But not everyone bothers to find that out, save for those who live with him among the banyans—homes comprised of broken objects and shattered dreams, yet entwined with hope and faith.