Yesterday things changed for me. Or yesterday I realized I’m more emotionally invested than I knew.
The top picture is me and Louis. Louis is homeless and a regular staple of our SilverSundays. He waits till everyone else has got theirs and then gets his and talks with us. The top picture is a when a church had given him two boxes of frosted animal cookies and he in turn donated them to us to give to the kids at the women’s shelter.
He has become such a part of the group that he sometimes assists us passing out food and supplies.
His camp near the men’s homeless shelter is immaculate. He camps along the river and takes very good care of his things. He has been gaining possessions in his attempt to get back to normal life. Up until recently he has had a part time job, washing dishes at a local Hotel. He now works there full time.
Louis isthisclose to getting back on his feet.
For the third time since I have known him someone has vandalized his camp. Before it was ransacked and items were stolen. This time they burned it to ground. Everything. His clothing. Books. Pots and pans. Linen. Staples he had accumulated for his eventual move to his own place.
As I walked up to his place to deliver a lunch yesterday my heart sank, because through the trees I couldn’t see his big blue tent. I could smell the burnt plastic. I kept saying, “please don’t let there be a body, please don’t let there be a body.” I walked the path from his camp toward the river to see if maybe he had tried to get to the water. Nothing. No body. Nothing in the weeds and overgrown grass around his camp. I looked but I didn’t want to find anything. The pictures above don’t do it justice. Imagine all of your personal items filled inside of a tent and then reduced to nothing. And the smell.
I was nauseous and went to his place of employment to see if he had shown up to work. I told the front desk what I was there for and they called back to the kitchen. “Kitchen” “Does Louis still work here?” ” This *is* Louis” “Hey Louis, there’s someone here that wants to talk to you.”
We talked briefly and I gave him my number. He’s going to call me and somehow I’m going to help him. This story isn’t over yet.
The problem is that I realized that this hit me more than what I think I was prepared for. This fucking hurt. Bad. I don’t know what that means or what to do about it. I do know that I will help him. That’s all I know, is, to help.