This is a sad one and yet too often true. It’s short at under 500 words.
They’d been through a lot together, and there was still some way to go. After the GFC things became difficult, and then they became dire, but in a world that had become uncertain there was one thing the man could hold onto for hope.
He worked in a company whose owners had been convinced by slick bankers in even slicker suits that borrowing more than they needed and much more than the company was worth was, somehow, a clever and necessary move. In the 1980s money had been separated from value, and in the world of rapacious greed value became meaningless and values became cause for derisive laughter.
The man was one of the many who didn’t make the decision but had paid for the consequences of it. As the financial system buckled under the strain, financial ‘wizards’ protected other wizards, and instead of trickling up where it belonged the result crushed those with the least ability and opportunity to weather it. The Occupy Movement sprang up, demanding that the ‘1%’ should be held accountable, and yet in the days and weeks after it was only members of the 99% who were arrested.
He lost his job when his company folded, unable to meet its repayment commitments. His position, so needed by so many companies, became difficult to obtain as companies shrank and millions of others sought out the dwindling opportunities for the same positions. The same lenders who had caused the crisis in confidence now pressured those with home mortgages, and the man was one of those who lost his home.
He had fallen below the notice of the Occupy movement, just as he’d always been below the notice of the 1%. At some point, both united to look the other way.
Homelessness brings a strong psychological shock, soon accompanied by hopelessness. He held out hope for as long as he could, but there were many times he felt it slipping away. There was just one thing helping him to hold it together: love. Throughout all of this, when he’d lost hope and his sense of self was crushed, she’d look at him with love in her eyes, and it restored him even as it shamed him.
He made sure she had the first of everything; food, shelter, and the warmth of a thin blanket on nights getting colder. This was no way to live but she never complained. She never lost faith in him, even when he’d lost faith in himself. The GFC would pass, just as the many people on the street did. From deep inside his soul he knew that somehow he’d make it back. He might never have a home to call his own again, but he’d have a roof over their heads. She had maintained his hope, his love, and his sense of self. He’d never forget, and he had a reason to get up and get going again. Her.