Seeking solace and a blessed place to say her prayers, Streetgirl flew her sign yesterday, straddling the curb and strolling up and down the intersection. Those same paths that her panning peer, so-tagged ‘The Veteran’, had ambled thousands of times. It was cold and she was dressed warmly, but they’d been out in far worse weather and enjoyed it too; a freedom of sorts. If it was Joe he would be wearing a toque, thin shirt under the jacket he wore year-round day and night, rarely removed, and sandals without socks; even though someone had gifted him a brand new pair of boots two months before his passing. Thrilled to tell the tale, how he’d been snoozing in the sun behind the gas station when a guy came by and offered to take him to Canadian Tire to buy a brand new jacket and footwear. One of so many kind gestures afforded him by strangers. That night they dumped his dirty smelly old coat down the garbage shoot in her building as a ceremonial gesture and he wore the new one until the day he died.
His feet were hard- worn, painful to step upon, but he bore his suffering lightly. Just ask the foot doctor at Lawrence Square who tendered to them not long ago and made them feel so much better if only for a short while. Ask the ladies at the salon on the corner who refused, with justification, to give him a pedicure even though he had the money to pay. Streetgirl laments lambasting him for leaving a trail of blood on the floor the night he slept upon the couch for the last time.
On the way home, placed upon the curb out front of a duplex on her street was an over sized hand- bag, bright colors faded and quilted, deliberately left there for someone like her who might appreciate it. She took it and inside was a black sweater, a spring coat, a small scented pillow, and a pair of slippers. She wished she could show it to Joe who never failed to marvel at such stories responding with a repetition of some of his own.
A week has gone and Streetgirl has grieved, yet the mourning must come to an end. Tomorrow she shall shower and get ready for the B-Day. Nice if he was here to party with her. She’s a boring old buzz kill without him, so will be rolling alone. The boys in The Jungle are in shock and will “miss you bro” (one of a kind). Princess sheds her tears, “envisioning your beautiful blue eyes, and giving thanks for that birthday cake back in 2014 when no one else cared”. Frankie, the new guy on the spot, speaks of you fondly and wishes he had known you longer (Streets had to put him in his place yesterday, you know how it is, but it’s cool now). Tip of the ice berg. Hope they let you grow your lovely beard back. When the time is right, we’ll sit by your grave and drop you a big blast. Cheers!