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On the map, Virtue Street is a straight line. In life, nothing is linear...
Everyday we make decisions. Sometime they are big decisions that we sweat over; that we loose sleep over; until we finally come to what we hope is the right decision.
I met Derek and he quickly invited me into his home. He lived in the small storefront at the end of my street where he sharpened knives, lawnmower blades and skates for a nominal charge. He didn’t seem to mind the camera or the fact that as I stood awkwardly in the middle of his space, listening to his stories my eyes wandered. Wandered across the floors and the walls and the shelves. Searching. Looking for clues. Looking beyond our first impressions. First impressions are how we want people to see us. How we wish to be seen. Our best selves, not necessarily our true selves. I sought out details. Details hidden in plain sight. In Derek’s case, the TV or the keys in the door. This is the kind of stuff we look at and have no idea what we are looking at until we know what we are looking at. These telling details need to reveal themselves over time.
Derek told me a story. It was the story about the decision that changed his life. Looking back, Derek could pin point this one decision that changed everything. It was one of those “Should I stay or should I go?” quandaries. Derek decided to stay. And now, as he looks out the window I wonder if he is thinking about his brother, leading the life that Derek didn’t choose.
Sometimes the decisions we make are so small we are barely even conscious of making them. One day Debbie opened the window in her apartment to let in a stray cat. She didn’t know it at the time but this was the beginning of something big. How could she have known that this simple act would change her life forever. Manou, the cat, gave Debbie a reason to love, a reason to live, a reason to get clean and sober. That cat saved her life. One summer day Debbie handed me a kitten. I wonder if she knew that that kitten would end up saving me a little too.
Virtue Street is a collection of stories. Stories we can all relate to. Broken promises; potential unfulfilled; regret and love. There is a little bit of us in every photo on Virtue Street.