Originally published on 28th September 2017
I’ve been warned by in-the-know locals about wandering down these alleyways since I first started working here in Philadelphia.
To be fair, it’s good advice. You can see the alley is wet yet it hasn’t rained here all week. Be thankful Facebook hasn’t developed pictures you can smell either.
Historically, I’ve been followed back to my hotel more than once and been warned about my future conduct by hotel security staff who have had to deal with various vagrants in the lobby once I’ve been safely ensconced in my room.
I’ve written previously about Tiffany and Nicky who there is no sign of on their normal corners so far. I hope that’s a good and not a bad sign.
So in their absence, I walked past a guy shooting up and discarding his needle at my feet and had dinner with some new friends.
What’s the story? Job loss, relationship failure, parental death. Business as usual.
And while their pain increases by each rejection they receive, hope levels drain from full to empty in their eyes, drug use becomes the only known escape and increasing levels of deceit and desperation are required to feed the habit they develop; the vicious circle of homelessness turns like hurricane Irma battering the foundations of their souls.
So should I come down these alleys repeatedly to make a tiny tiny difference when I potentially endanger myself by doing so?
Well yes, I should, and so should you.
Because if not you and me, then who?
As I find out when I dine with these fine people, it’s hope and not misery; that loves company.