passing through

I always notice the old timers, this one can barely walk, he needs a walker and another person leading to get him where he needs to go. Rumor has it someone dropped him off last night and how folks can do that is something I will never understand. He's walking past me with another man guiding him along when I hear him say my pants pull up my pants and I glance over, his pants have fallen down around his ankles and he can't fix them without letting go of something and then he'd surely fall. The man who's helping him stops and turns around. He looks and looks around the crowded room, there is no easy way to do this but to bend over and pull up his pants. He does it and reaches around his waist to fasten them. He does this and I am glad for it and I also want to cry.

One of my long time friends is back, he was at the hospital for awhile and he's come back older. He's got a cane now and it doesn't seem right. He's come to define this world for me, this man and his smile and his back and forth, it's been a decade now and nothing has really changed. It's tragic and senseless and I will always root for him and every time I see him he asks about M. He asks me every single time because he remembers the before and the during and now he sees her grow.

I'm getting ready to leave as he's coming in. He sees me and comes running over, his hug lifts me clean off my feet and his laugh is rich and deep. I ask him how he is although he's clearly beaming. I am so good. I am so, so good. I think I've found a place to live. His smile is electric as he tells me all about it, gesturing wildly and occasionally pausing to greet others on their way inside with a slap on the back or one of those man hugs, the kind where you clasp each others hands and your chests bump. I like watching those man hugs and his happiness is infectious. You are doing it, man. You are on your way.

I walk to my car conscious I'm leaving for a few days, my mind ponders the irony of where I am heading and what I am leaving, that poverty can live alongside whimsy and somehow there is room for both and it seems wrong, a preternatural coexistence of sorts. But then again so many things seem wrong when I walk in and out these doors.

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