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‘Welcome to the grit’

She left crying. Tears of dreadful worry and modest thanks for nothing more than validation. I wouldn't roll the dice on it happening in the first place, but this young woman's first few steps at rock bottom crossed a good man who’d been at it a while. Saying it plainly, there is no comfort to be offered here beyond advice and honesty. Welcome to the grit. I’m so sorry you’re here.

She came into my store on Main Avenue. I had seen her face before but this was the first time it had nothing to express. I remember that look from my mirror a decade back. Summary of the conversation; “take comfort that you aren’t alone, I work full time and still have to be homeless. Purple Cliffs not as bad as they say and it’s a fair stride safer than Durango’s streets at night.” She told me she would check it out if she needed to.

This is not the first or second time I've had to go through this conversation. A father who lost his children because of inflation. A drifter from out of town with no roof and little hope. And now a young woman, no more than 21, whose story I haven't learned because she walked away from my store crying. That makes three people in six months who lost everything in this town. Three people who have hope for a chance because the cliffs are available.

Antonio Espinoza