He died on a freezing night. December 16. ~The Homeless~ It's easy to think "it's what they choose" or "it's their bed, let them make it", but it isn't always that simple. Only much more complex. I saw him under the bridge many times and was greeted by him every morning. He told me of his experiences in Vietnam and expressed that he was getting too old to bear living outside in the cold. He spoke of the ferocity of the unbearable winds that come through the bridge's openings at night. He said that was the toughest part for him versus the snow. I asked him if there was any chance he would ever get out of this Hell. And he said, "Soon, very soon." Next month, in fact, he was hopping on a bus to California. "What's waiting there for you?" I asked. "The beach," he answered, with satisfied conviction and a faraway look in his eyes. Why did I doubt him? I then replied: "Make me a promise you will go."
And he did just that.
It was not meant to be. Upon arriving at 7 AM on the morning of Sunday, December 16, 2012, the friendly and familiar voice was to greet me no more. A cold and dead veteran is the image that would shroud me that day. Lying in his lonely bed beneath a city of violence. The traffic over his head. As strangers drove indifferently towards their busy days. How easy it is to forget a homeless person with no warm hearth to break their bread. Goodbye Dear Ed. Thank you for always calling me "Hon" and wishing me a good day. Although you left this earth the night before the first December snow would arrive, I was glad in a way that you had escaped the rest of the harsh winter outside. But as the soft white blanket covered the stark reality of a tent set up to shelter a life, I could almost hear an angel sigh.
Rest in peace, my Dear Friend.
THE BRIDGE HE LIVED UNDER