Today was supposed to be my regular meeting with Anthony. I called him this morning to make sure we were still on – but he didn’t pick up. Nonetheless, I headed down to his corner to meet up with him around noon.
The southeast corner of 19th and M was full of people but I didn’t see my friend. My feet paced in the same space that Anthony usually occupies as I scanned the area to see if he possibly had wandered away for a moment. While fumbling for my phone to give him a call I spotted his bright yellow vest across 19th street.
His body propped up against one of those newspaper boxes that take quarters, Anthony looked terrible. “I haven’t slept at all,” he said to me explaining that he had chaperoned a group of college students from Richmond doing an urban plunge – a 48 hour experience developed by the National Coalition for the Homeless where young people get matched with a homeless individual and experience life on the streets. “This group had a couple of girls and I don’t like to sleep when girls are part of it…you never know, but nothing is gonna happen on my watch.”
I offered to buy him lunch but he just shook his head and said he was going to head over to the the Au Bon Pain and take a snooze in the back. The son was warming his unshaven face which peaked out from under his new hat that I gave him two weeks earlier.
Before we split I asked him how his meeting with the housing/employment group that I had helped him get the previous week went. He just kind of shrugged and said, “We’ve got to talk about that…but not today.”
So who knows if he went or not. I told him I would circle back with him later this week and wished him lots of rest.