Friday, April 21, 2006

The life we live now.

I did half a dozen "home" visits with a woman living at a Cambridge Shelter last year. Someone just called to tell me that someone found her under a bridge in Chinatown three weeks ago.

"She passed."

Why do we say "pass"? What's so wrong with the word "die"?

She was 45, and she hated being on the "inside." Being caged in was a fate far scarier than being haunted down by dealers on the streets. When she called me, she was always standing by a payphone around Central Square or Chinatown. She always sounded cold.

She had three children, whom she never sees. Her friends were her dealers and her doctor at the shelter.

She used to tell me, "But everyday, everyday now, is my chance to turn it all around."

She's a sliver of my life. And we all die alone. And we are all but transient in each other's lives. The only person could have turned her life around was she. I couldn't do it for her.

With the time I got here, I learn to turn my own life around. And enjoy the view. How do I do it? I write. I live. I ask questions. I listen for the answers. And I send flowers to an unmarked grave somewhere in Cambridge.


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