There's a couple that has captured my interest for over a year now. I see them every day. I know their faces, but recognize them first by the way they curl their bodies together to form one entangled web of limbs and love. They keep to themselves, gaze only at each other, speak only to one another. Each morning, as I get off the subway and make my way above ground, I see them knotted up on the same two seats of a four-seat wooden bench. They are homeless.
There's a lot of assumptions I'll admit I've made about homeless people. They lack motivation; they lack morals; they lack commitment. But when I think about it, perhaps the largest, overarching assumption I've made--and made in error--is that the homeless are simply not LIKE everybody else. Yet this couple proves that they are, in fact, 'like' everybody else. Sure, they live a vastly different reality from what most of us are fortunate enough to know. But this couple reminds me that above all the homeless are quite simply human, and thus in possession of the same desire for one of life's most innate needs: love.
At the height of summer, when New York City's subway stations reach temperatures that surely would rival the foyer of hell, I see this couple. In those brutally hot days, just hours after a night spent trying not to touch a single pore of my husband's skin because it's just too damn HOT, I pass these two, clad in sparse strips of clothing, fingers resting on each other, refusing to lose contact. In the dead of winter, when I have no real proof that there are actual people beneath layers of shabby coats and dirty blankets save for the unmistakeable shape of two forms huddled together, I see these two, coiled tight for warmth in single digit temperatures.
It's easy to complain about the hardships we go through within our own couplings, particularly during this increasingly unsettling depress...errr, recession. More and more these days, I imagine couples are wondering how their relationship would weather a hardship such as a job loss, or a house foreclsoure. And yet, I look at this couple. The fears we've all succumbed to expressing at one time or another: "Would you still love me if...'I lost' 'I didn't' 'I couldn't'. It seems they've looked those fears--and perhaps more--in the eye and withstood every test. And is there any truer display of love and commitment than that?