Driving to work, through the south side of town, my views are filled with cracked concrete and failed businesses. The people walking here aren’t real to me. Occasionally, my curiosity wanders into where each mistake was made. Trash. That’s what I see.

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I compare my life to the pregnant mom of three that’s smoking a cigarette down by the public bus stop. Fuck. It drums up a bit of empathy in me. Ultimately, she did it to herself. Whore. Too bad for the kids. They will grow up to be like mom.

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There are men around my age. I see them walking through the patchy weeds that are sprouting from inside an abandoned lot. Sagged pants, dirty shirt, and some new shoes. They must be on their way to the gas station across the street. Breakfast. I think about what their diet must be like.

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I can’t help, but to ponder my life. What I have. What I don’t. Insignificant struggles. The kids and I are fine. I think about my children’s mother. How she’s made mistakes. We all have. But I think she must feel similar to that mother at the bus stop. Empty hope. No change.

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The network here is damaged. Still… Can that same ability or ambition, that it took to get to that bus stop, or gas station, or to buy those new shoes, be applied into another area of their life?

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Help yourself. Be productive. Make your children proud. Otherwise, you are just another person people pass by on their way to work.

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