When I first saw him, I knew he belonged to another woman, my best friend in fact. Then it started. Whenever I went to her house to help her with dinner, he quietly watched us in the kitchen. At first he regarded me with his typical nonchalant flair but as he got to know me, his demeanor changed. I know it’s wrong but I couldn’t resist his soulful green eyes. I pretended I didn’t like his displays of affection even though I knew all the while I was falling in love with him.
With my fingertips I softly traced the features of his regal face nestled in my lap. How can something so wrong feel so good? How could I betray my best friend like this? Am I not guilty of stealing his affections from her? What kind of friend am I? When I spent nights at Caly’s house, silently he came to me when she was fast asleep. No…..no this is wrong, I would say. What if she catches us? He respected my wishes but gave a mournful look back at me as he left.
For weeks and weeks this had been going on and all the while I thought she didn’t know. Then one evening while paying her a visit, I realized she knew and surprisingly she wasn’t all that upset. “I know he’s in love with you, I have eyes you know.” Oh god, this is it, this is the moment I have dreaded for days on end! “You’re not upset?” I asked feeling a little taken aback by the fact that she wasn’t fuming. “No. See things between us haven’t really been the same. Hell, it wouldn’t matter to me if you let him live with you. I think you two really have chemistry together, more than we ever did.” I felt like crying because I should’ve come clean from the start. “I didn’t mean for this to happen!” I cried. Caly smiled at me, blue eyes twinkling over the rim of her glasses. “No, you didn’t, but it did and that’s that. Jasper has made his choice and there’s nothing I can do about that. Best thing to do is just move on from here.”
I know that I will never find such a forgiving friend such as Caly, not in a million years. And Jasper, well, he’s just Jasper.
It would be all too easy to allow myself to fall into despair about not having a place of my own and worrying myself to death over what’s not happening in my life right now. Everyday there is something, never enough this, never enough that and even though it can be a rollercoaster sometimes, I still have a lot to be thankful for. For one thing, I have access to clean water. I have the ability to work on getting a degree even though there is no guarantee of a job in the field I’m studying for. My kids are physically healthy and know that although we may have it rough right now, I’m not giving up on a better future for them. I don’t let them see me getting caught up in a whining fest or downward spiral into anger. Sometimes my teenager and I get into it because teenagers “know” more than they actually do but compared to some others I’ve seen, I think I’ve been fortunate that she hasn’t gotten into drugs, gotten pregnant or landed in jail. When it came to bringing donations to Nickelsville, I stood back for a moment while watching her unload the back of Caly’s car as though she had done this all her life. Sometimes her little sister gets on her nerves and typical bickering does occur but in those moments when they bond together, well, words can’t describe what I feel.
Laughter softens the bitter pill of how we live, especially when it comes to my 7-year old. From asking about tentacles and Chinas to borrowing cameras and making her own videos, she really surprises me. Here is a link to a video done last year of her when asked a question: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/video/video.php?v=125655337449632
My teen is the quiet artistic personality. She loves to draw and is an anime fan, especially Manga. I have to monitor what kind of Manga she looks at because not all of it is age appropriate as we once discovered when she got a hold of a book that made me blush! She found it at the local library and I had to tell her that just because something is “cartoonish” doesn’t mean it isn’t adult.
In the back of mind, when I knew we were going to be living out of a vehicle, I had to remind myself that the path I’m on must be leading me somewhere I just didn’t know where. This is what my philosophy has always been even when I was a kid because the experiences I’ve had always prove it. If I hadn’t become homeless, with kids, would I be able to write about it the way I do? Would I be able to understand others in the same situation if I had never experienced for myself what other people don’t want to believe is true? So many times people carelessly would comment that I should just go on welfare until I educated them that in all honesty, there is no such thing as welfare of American citizens any more.
If I hadn’t become homeless, I wouldn’t have met all the people I’ve met so far with their own stories to tell. If I hadn’t been homeless, I would’ve never found out about change.org and all the nice folks there. I wouldn’t even be on wordpress.com if I hadn’t been homeless. I keep wondering where my path will end but I know it began with me and the choices I’ve made so far. Going back to school felt scary at first but what did I have to lose? If I’m ever going to get out of this, I’ll have to fight my way out.
In the meantime, I will continue talking about the homeless and confronting stupidity wherever I find it. No matter how much any of us would like to give up, don’t. Don’t let the apathy and indifference of ignorant people keep you from helping yourself. Don’t let negativity infect your spirit because the truth is, we are our own worst enemies and it is time to start being best friends with ourselves.
If someone were to ask me if I would do this all over again, the answer is yes, I would.
Anxieties, worries, stresses, strain, unknown futures calling me
Nothing guaranteed, knowing that I won’t be free
Silent tears, hidden pain, when a new day will I see?
I saw my reflection the other day, past a window on display but….
The woman I saw, who looked like me, couldn’t remember what she used to be
Thinking back to childhood days, soft green grass and summer days, I never thought
I’d see a different reality, a different me
Blue, green, yellow, black, wish I could get my life back, but wishing on a star
That’s just fantasy. I’ve got to find a way back to me. I once met a girl, she was nineteen
She sat nearby, watching me. Somehow she guessed, somehow knew, guess she’s seen a few
“Be careful,” she said quietly, “you’ll lose your mind out here.” I watched her then, sitting there
Wondering how long she wandered through nowhere.
Sun gone down, the night is black, looking up I see its tracks
The Great Bear, it shines the way, sometimes the only one who hears me pray
No matter what I do or what I say, how come things are still this way?
I think about the people who, when asked to help, didn’t come through.
Excuses plenty, yes I’ve heard every, and even though with that mindset
They should know I won’t forget
I’ve learned a lot on the way, when to run and where to stay and stranger still
I can’t give up, never will. Eyes are watching, young and new, watching everything I do
When you see me walk on by, when I see you I won’t cry. You had your chance and you failed
Now I have a story to tell. Won’t be fun, not what you want to hear
Won’t be about people you have near. So while at home, snug in bed
Knowing you have nothing to dread, someone on the street,
dies tonight in their sleep.
“If they can’t feed their kids don’t breed them!” “It’s their fault they’re there”
“I don’t feel sorry for addicts and drunks” “Don’t give them money, they’ll just buy junk”
“I’m not paying for their welfare” “Not my problem so I don’t care”
This is the message society gives, this is the attitude they want to live
I find such attitudes to be odd, when did they become God? Christian charity, hah, not likely!
Conversion before giving to help the living, Forcing beliefs or no relief, they have forgotten!
One man came, one man said, “Give us now our daily bread”. There was no inclusion
No list of exclusions, apathy and indifference feeds the delusion
My mind is set, the goal is clear. With perseverance a new day is near
The system is broken, has been awhile. Sold our children down the Nile
Inadequacies are built-in addictions, that’s why you see so much affliction
It’s up to us, call it Intuit, stop the excuses, just do it!
This isn’t what we’re supposed to be, a society made up of angst “I” at ease.
Even though my thoughts today have been preoccupied with figuring out how I’m going to pay for my storage rent, car tabs and school stuff for the kids this month, there is something else that comes to my mind every October. It is the memory of two native girls I saw every night while working the graveyard shift at a local convenience store. People saw them and would remark how somebody ought to do something about the life they were living. I contacted state agencies and got nowhere with them. I can’t help but think about how they would still be here today if the members of the community would’ve directly intervened on those girls’ behalf by bringing food and clothes to them so that they didn’t feel like their only hope was to try to be like their aunt who was a prostitute addicted to heroin. I gave the kids sandwiches and tried to get them more help but it was too late. This poem is for them:
This is the month of holiday ghosts, of goblins and ghouls, of pumpkin seeds roast.
Their names long forgotten, but not their memory, two innocent lives I miss the most
I was strict, but wanted them to play, lost childhood I saw everyday
Where did you go, I wandered, I asked, nowhere and none too fast
Bad company came calling today, bad company came and took you away
Eleven and twelve, so young and pure, in shallow graves found you were
I tried, I cried but no one cared, simple compassion was all that you dared
That aunt of yours, I blame her I do, her addiction they said, made her a fool
Following her footsteps, you two did take and now from slumber you’ll never wake
Childlike voices, childhood prayers, all you needed was someone to care
I hear your names upon the wind and wonder if you’ll forgive our sin
We failed to save you, to bring you in and now I’m left with suffering
The swings in the playground move with the breeze, I hope the gods of mercy see
Your memory, innocence lost, still comes to haunt me
They don’t understand me, those people I’m around
Loving, laughing, feet solid on the ground
Even when I leave a comment, it makes no sound
They don’t understand me, they don’t try
Nights I hear my children cry
In the driver’s seat I wipe my eyes
They don’t understand me or what I do
Blinders on, can’t see the truth
I don’t exist, talk till I’m blue
I don’t mean a thing to you
They don’t understand me or how to change
Until it’s too late, engulfed in rage
Words of anger expressed on a page
They don’t understand me, I don’t belong
Even though their attitude is wrong
Because of that, I sing a new song
They don’t understand, my words though bold
A new understanding will now unfold
This sickening mindset has grown old
They don’t understand me, but they will
Indifference, yeah, I’ve had my fill
It’s not about can’t, it’s all about will
They don’t understand me, so they say
Then shut the hell up and get out-of-the-way
This is my mission, to find a better day
They don’t understand me, so I’ve heard
Do nothing just like the rest of the herd
Common sense has become absurd
They don’t understand how it is that we
Choose to become the worst society
It’s not about others but all about me
They don’t understand me, guess what, I don’t care!
What little I have I will gladly share
Remember my name if you dare
I’m here, I’m now and I’m not goin’ anywhere!