The first time I saw her she was an overweight, average looking woman, walking the streets in a small town. An old-style place, teeming with college students and retirees. She could have been someone’s mom, a parent visiting her child on campus.
Yet, the overloaded shopping cart, filled to the brim with what must have been her treasures, gave her away. She flailed her hands, using them to make a point, while she chatted with another weathered woman. Her laughter infiltrated my car, seeping into the half-open windows one breezy Autumn morning as I slowly drove by.
As the months passed, I would see her walking, sometimes sitting, and other times sleeping within the deep recesses of a curbside alcove. Her weight was diminishing, as were her once-chipmunk-cheeks, replaced by boney facial features and sunken eyes.
She’d begun to look like she’d lost herself, her identity, her spirit, her relationships. She’d walk up and down a quarter mile radius shouting to passing cars, bopping her head, talking to no one.
She was alone. In her world. In her mind. She was a homeless woman who had lost her way.