When I heard about that house fire down in Ohio City, I hoped he wasn't living there anymore. Like most people who are in a constant state of transition and had their struggles with substance abuse, it wasn't uncommon to lose touch with him for months.
He slept on our balcony the summer before last for a few weeks and did our dishes every night. I knew it was hard on him because he hated feeling like a freeloader. He moved around all over the west side, picked up welding and machine shop jobs. Sometimes he'd show up at church or I'd see him around the neighborhood.
I emailed my old roommate to see if she knew anything and he's gone. I know that his struggles are finished now, that he's with God and not dealing with all the struggles of this world anymore.
Veteran's Day was always one of those holidays that I never really think about but this year it has more of a face for me besides my grandparents' generation. I think of all the people like him that came home to a hostile country and a lack of a support network who ended up on the streets.
I'm realizing more and more how many people fall through the cracks.