In a notoriously affluent part of town, one which happens to be rife with homelessness, I encountered a setting which frightened me to my core.
Frightened me to the point of needing to return back to my vehicle to compose myself.
Innocently walking towards my next work appointment I noted movement from a new homeless setup on the back steps of a corner bookstore. I had actually noted this newly established residence last week. It was slightly different from the usual. A thick white quilt sheltering the contents atop those tiled matte black steps; including the human nesting inside it. However this time they awoke and pulled back the covers to revel themselves.
It was a she.
A very young and beautiful girl with cascading long black hair. She was dressed in a white knit top and pale denim jeans. She stretched her slender arms, all the while ensuring her back remained facing passersby on the opposite side of the street. A presumably desperate attempt to evade would-be onlookers, not realising that those in expensive suits and young teens fixed in deep conversations were in fact paying zero attention to what was unfolding delicately. And it was only by sheer luck that I managed to catch a glimpse of her. It was that glimpse that shock me to my core. Not that she was young and beautiful, but beside her was a pair of white Converse sneakers.
It felt like I was looking into a mirror; a tangible outcome for what lay ahead for me. Polished and composed, that feeble attempt to camouflage pain and hardship. And while I’ve always understood that homelessness doesn’t discriminate, it was still a confronting setting. Mainly because that could or would be me in coming months.