I won’t share his picture just in case you recognize him – or perhaps his ex-girlfriend – through their association with me. Not that he wants anonymity – he appeared in the newspaper after all – but when you move from prosperity to homelessness it’s gotta be hard to come face to face with your former life.
I was floored when I saw that picture accompanying an article in the newspaper today. The story was about a group of men who went hiking and camping to clear their heads for a few days – some of them are homeless, or at least used to be. On the far right of the picture was a guy named Pete.
Pete. I knew him a few years ago when he was the boyfriend of a friend of mine. On many occasions, we spent a summer evening in a mutual friend’s backyard, ice clinking in glasses, beer cold in the bottle. He’d talk about British Columbia, if I remember correctly. We talked about Salt Spring Island and skies full of stars.
Even then, drugs were starting to take their toll – on both him and her. He was a stockbroker, had an MBA. In the high-flying, high-finance world, well, cocaine would take him even higher. Before he came crashing down.
Now he lives in a shelter, walks with a cane, has even had a few heart attacks. He’s only 50 or so.
There are so many times I’ve been on the subway, or walking by people on the street and wonder ‘what’s their story’. ‘How did they get here.’
Now, in this case, I know. Strange when it hits so close to home.