Walking back from the post office today, I passed this kid, maybe 19 or 20, who I recognized as one of the gutter punks who used to ask me for change outside the liquor store. He always had a kind of strung out look.
But today, he was dressed in "normal" clothes--jeans and a t-shirt. He did not look strung out. I did not talk to him but, being a writer, I like to speculate. he had a kind of vulnerability in his eyes--the kind I've been reading about in Infinite Jest--the vulnerability of a recovering addict trying to put his life back together.
Shortly after, I walked past this homeless man who I see around a lot. Usually he has this kind of upbeat attitude, and likes to chat. I hadn't seen him in a while, and today he looked really haggard, pushing a shopping cart full of his possessions, wearily, a blank look on his face. He did not even acknowledge me.
I know, I understand, how human lives can spiral upward or downward.