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Now You See Him

Page 6

He waited for each of his regulars and thanked us, so quietly proud of himself.  Just seeing him, standing straight and tall, his face glowing with health, his clothes and his person clean, with hope shining from his eyes, was enough for us.  If any of us had ever had a doubt about the evil effect of so many drugs and a life on the street on a person, he was our proof. I thought of those photos you see promoting weight loss programs or makeovers.  He was the ‘after’ shot - and we’d become familiar with the ‘before’ picture. Seeing Leonard clean and remembering him on the drugs proved just what the addiction took away from a person - all the while masquerading as their friend and helper - the only thing they need in life.

He was looking for work and told us his next step after getting a job was to find a girlfriend. He already had a nice new room to live in.  Great, we thought! 

I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks, but I’d been busy so hadn’t given it much thought. Then I bumped into him, literally, in the food hall.  He had yoghurt in one hand and a Bible in the other.

We chatted about the jobs he’d applied for and the woman he’d met at a community barbecue.  He told me he’d been given a new bike, one with a lock, and that if he got the job he’d applied for this week, he’d be able to ride his bike to work.  He laughed about it being better for him to keep away from trams, lest temptation overwhelm him.

He didn’t get that job, or the next one, or the several he applied for after that. We never saw his new bike.  He hung around the street more and more.  At first he always had his Bible in his hand.  Then we didn’t see it anymore. But we still saw him, everyday a little more bent over, the light in him a little dimmer.


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