“You don’t see us,”

a voice to the left of us said. “You don’t even see us. We are invisible to you.” I turned my head. The cardboard said – “I need nylon (stockings?).” I noticed a grey beard and I kept walking, my head still turned towards him.

Should I have stopped? Gone back to talk to him? Or any of the others holding cardboard signs?

Half a year ago, I ate dinner with a man. His name was Larry. He asked me for a dollar. I asked if he wanted to eat Chipotle instead. “What kind of food do they have?” Burritos. He ordered a burrito with guacamole and a large Coke. I think he practically put everything in it because – it was a really big burrito. Did he get sick from eating too much?

“Today was a really nice day…tomorrow’s going to be a nice day too.”

“Do you have any children?” No. “That’s good, you should get a career first if you can.”

If you could do anything, what would you do? “You mean as a job?” Anything. “Just be normal, have a normal life and be like everyone else.

His blue RTD jacket was from a church. “David” printed in curvy letters. “Sometimes I go and pray, but not as much as I think I should. Everything is by God’s grace. I wouldn’t be able to survive without God’s grace, like how I am eating a burrito now.”  He ate the burrito with a spoon.

“Some people give me money. They tell me not to buy drugs, but I don’t even drink. Most people say that they only have a card, no cash. They show me their card. Most people are just too busy to stop, they’re always on their way to go somewhere.”

Red in the whites of his eyes, yellow teeth, not aligned, with some missing —

What happens when a person without a home dies on the streets? What happens with the body? Does anyone mourn for them?

He shook my hand. His was very knobby (no muscle, weak bones, some very thin flesh). And he barely grasped mine. I felt like I would have crushed his if I did.

“We are invisible to you.” I should have gone back.

I’ve been thinking

a lot (always) but most recently about who I want to become and what I want to accomplish. Aspirations? Inspirations? What’s the journey? But…actually, what is the outcome that I want? I stumbled upon the thought of…at the end of my life, if I had started my own company, sold a company, became known as an artist, bound books, sold handmade journals, after all that – and then I looked back, what is it that would actually still mean anything to me? Perhaps there’s an art to looking back and just being okay with the fact that you tried everything you could. But perhaps we (at least I) think too much about the pursuit of the next great “potential,” and not enough about…just living, and experiencing, and… feeling? – Is that too happy-feely?

Really, look back. What have been the most meaningful experiences? What about the best? Um I actually really enjoyed liked getting lost on a night hike with my _____ and his friends, not knowing if we were actually going to be able to find the way back down. It was actually great sublime- being alert from fear of death, terrified and hating it, but also loving the fact that we were all experiencing the same “w-t-f-just-hold-it-together-…we-got-this…..don’t-die…-don’t-scare-me-more-please-hold-my-hand-sing-happy-songs” mentality. Somehow supporting each other in our fear, staying positive for each other and being supported by one another kept the monsters lurking in our imagination at bay. (As for the real ones – it’s a miracle.) There’s something about walking in fear together that breeds an intimacy not found in the comfort of the routine – pushing through the fear, and even using it to propel us towards home – towards “safety.” Holding onto hope and those around you. In that moment. Looking up at the stars. Feeling small. Feeling scared. Just alive.

Adventure awaits. And “adventure” is here. Take away the quotes. Being uncomfortable Terrified – but trusting that it would be OK – we hoped. But, that’s all more poetic than it really was (is)… maybe it wasn’t poetic at all. Who am I kidding, we were scared out of our minds.

Conclusion: Life is the experience. Death is not the end. Passenger – Keep on Walking.