Another passage from Shadows and Ghosts....
She was striking, even in rags. Her tall frame was weakened and stooped, but her dark skin, while dulled by malnutrition and age, was held taut by high prominent cheekbones. Everything about her intrigued me. She was clearly displaced in Willow Bend, as displaced as I was. Yet, when she looked into the camera, it was with resignation, and the wise, weary eyes of fallen royalty.
“I didn’t plan for this,” she said, “not that any of us did. I guess that’s a silly thing to say....”
“I don’t think so.”
“I suppose. People have a way of thinking, ‘If I do this, if I eat that, I won’t get in trouble or sick.’ But you never know. I had a home, a husband, a son, and lost all of them within a year. We came up from the city when Eli, our baby, was six months old, so Andrew could take a job teaching history at St. Albert’s. Neither of us thought Eli would get cancer. Neither of us thought the school would go under.”
She looked at me and shook her head. “I’m sorry. I’m not like Spencer. I don’t have his spirit. I should have gone back to the city after Andrew died, and the bank foreclosed, but I had nothing there, and no family to run to or lean on. So I stayed. I thought I’d be able to hang on to the few things I took from home, underwear, clothes, a wallet; but as soon as I was on the street, the wallet got stolen. The other things, ruined over time.” Her voice began to crack. “You lose pictures of loved ones, you still have your memories. But you lose your social security card, your I.D., you disappear....”
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