They are roughly my age. In worn clothes and dirty backpacks they hang like teenagers in shade of the trees across from the restaurant where we’re eating lunch. They are as barefoot as the kind-looking, but dirty, dogs they have with them. Their ‘too-cool-for-school’ body language portrays a desire for freedom through revolt against society, but to me, an outsider, it looks more like the prison of substance abuse. They are on the border when they can still return to a clean life, to walk the line, to turn away from the bonds and heal from the demons that binds them. Few of them probably will, trapped in their own repulsion for getting in line.
Sitting there I know I am stepping outside the boundaries of ‘my business’. While I understand their need for independence and freedom, they seem prisoners to their own personal reality. They strike me a sad bunch despite their smiles.