A face from earlier jogged itself in my memory. I realized that a passenger I greeted today on my bus was the same man I wrote about last winter, here. At the time I had described him thus:
"Another fellow, middle-aged white homeless man, his face utterly destroyed, beaten to a pulp. The skin has turned black, and the cuts on the eyebrows are drying. He's lost his backpack with his HIV paperwork and his last $100. Tough-looking character, but his voice is human. I can't tell if he's crying."
I stood outside my home for a moment longer, registering the incredible fact that this man is still alive.
Having witnessed his earlier state up close, it seemed to me nigh impossible. I realized the only commonality in his appearance between now and then was his sharp blue eyes, though today they were dry. If anything, he actually looked younger now. I would never think to describe him as middle-aged. The guy's regressed at least ten years.
Today his skin was long since healed, no scars I could notice, and he had fresh clothes and a smile to go with them. The earth has orbited just about once, and I've been distracted with my own day-to-day life, but this man has been otherwise occupied. He has forced himself back up from the ashes. I imagine no one else on my bus today knew of the travails he had undergone; certainly they didn't know what he looked or sounded like one day last winter. It took me several hours to put together where I'd seen that face before.
I am humbled into a quiet state of awe.