being there

(child in poverty, san francisco, 6/26/07)

 

it's an in between day. stalled on the way somewhere. a strange intermission. tomorrow will better judge.

 

a lady pushes a stroller by as i hardly notice. except for a glimpse of golden locks.

 

they're at the intersection when i arrive. i glance down and the child in the stroller looks up. i smile. he says "hello" and smiles back. the woman doesn't notice; she continues along. and i go another way.

 

but they really don't seem off to an evening stroll; as they enter the park. and i peer back as they approach a group of figures barely visible under the darkness of a tree.

 

the woman pulls something from her jacket which she passes to the others.

 

i return from another direction and i'm stared down as i approach. there is the lady and a man; neither stranger to the elements. she's black; he's white. there are two older children and one baby in a second stroller. and there is the child i met before. he is 3.

 

the children are opening colorful bags of candy that the lady brought back. it seems to be dinner. the child hands me his bag.

 

the two youngest are the couple's children together. the family lives in a shelter and sometimes beneath the stars. they'll be in the shelter tonight. it opens at 9pm.

 

the child is named "chance."

 

"like the movie?" i ask. "peter sellers?"

 

the father smiles. "no. she's 32 and i'm 42 and this here is my last chance at a life."

 

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6/27/07 9:27AM: thanks so much maendi (in LA) the trader joe's food card etc. for the family; it will totally start to make a difference!

 

7/2/07: thanks fire_starter1119 for the safeway card for the family! xo

 

7/14/07: video receiving care package

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Taken on June 26, 2007