There is one less homeless person in Montreal since the “homeless census” in March. Sometime last week, Mikey died after falling near the 405/211 bus stop at Lionel Groulx.
I only know him as Mikey. I don’t know if his name was Michel or Michael or Mitch, or if he was French or English. Depending who you ask, he was 26 or 28. He was a handsome, tall, white boy reminiscent of Val Kilmer with a teardrop tattoo under the outside of his left eye.
But most people saw him shuffling and mumbling, eyes cast down, inappropriately dressed for the weather, at or around the warm air vents at the far west side of Lionel Groulx — the West Island bus stops. This past winter was cold without relief. At one point, his face was all beat up and raw, and I was putting some ointment on his right ear, and his passivity reminded me of the stray cat I took in with an injured face and similarly tended.
It wouldn’t take a psych major to realize he had some kind of unmedicated mental illness. And so he self-medicated — like many of the Lionel Groulx Knights. So, according to Noah and Puppy and a couple of others — Mikey was very drunk and fell down and hit his head. They told me he died in hospital.
I don’t know his whole name. I don’t know whether he had ID. I don’t know whether he will have a funeral. I don’t know how anyone can check on a missing or dead homeless person. Puppy said that Mikey’s teardrop tattoo was because “his family didn’t want/love him.” I hope that is not so.
There are a lot of people who take the buses there. Many of them will know exactly who I am writing about.
So R.I.P. Mikey — you never asked me for money, and if I gave you food, you were either happy and ate it right away (you loved those hard-boiled eggs!) or you put it in your pocket and kept shuffling on. But that was okay. You used to mumble a lot, well most of the time, but every time you saw my little dog, your face would light up and you would remember his name — “Yoshi!!” and you would pet him for a while.