The gangly happy kid loped across the plaza towards me.
“How ya doin’?”
“I’m good, almost left for Cali last night but got to Clarksville and decided to come back.”
“Wow, I’m sorry that didn’t work out…”
“Yeah, we left at 10:00 pm and I got back, to the tent and was asleep by 03:30!”
Unsure as to why the times were of importance he readily answered my un-asked question…
I met the young man only a couple of days before. We were waiting in line under the Jefferson street bridge, the midday sun already beating down on our heads. It was a long, long line standing in the dust, the Lord’s Chuck wagon fixin’ to pull up any minute.
He was standing with a much older man. A seasoned camper and traveller. He sucked nervously on a cigarette.
I’m not sure what we initially talked about or what it was that struck up our conversation. I have met many from all walks of life at the homeless feeds around town. Some not wanting to talk. Some rambling incoherently, racked with paranoia and delusional voices chattering constantly in their ears. Some just plain old drunk.
But our dialogue immediately flowed. I found him to be a very old soul in baby pyjamas. Rompers, we call them in England…
He talks a lot with his hands. Some might even say he waves them far too much, totally violating the other’s personal space.
I found it all terribly endearing. To me, he’s beautifully exuberant about life. Joyously animated with a childlike gleam across his face.
We talked at length. We had plenty of time for we were at the back of the line.
He told me all about where he was from, his family, the adventures he’s had on the road, legal issues and previous relationships. He amazed me so much with his knowledge of the law that I could not help but encourage him to get himself to a community college and study. I wanted him to turn it all around, instead of running from the law, make a living at it!
He tells me and he is, flamboyantly and wonderfully gay. In fact, he refreshingly makes no bones about it…
I immediately worry about his safety in the South. He’s a street kid though and we are all toughened by the harsh realities of an unjust world. We are all itinerant survivors, always have been…always will.
While we talked, he returns again and again to the same subject…
and even though he has called the streets his home for ten or so years,
it became glaringly apparent that he still looked for one…
hell is real!
@ jefferson street bridge with our friends and Pastor Bob ministries. God Bless these awesome people, I cannot say it enough. there’s this guy who goes to the dollar store after work and buys socks for everyone and a hair stylist that donates his sundays to the mission and our bridge bunch.