Tuesdays are my fencing night.
Week after week, I force myself to leave work on time, sprint to the subway that I take to the next state over, get in my car and then drive an hour and a half north. I love this – it’s the day I put ‘me’ first. Not my goals or my future, but my present ‘me’. It’s something that makes me happy and I look forward to it all week. However, this does not leave a lot of time for dinner. In fact 9x out of 10, I do not eat dinner, preferring a large lunch. If ever I was to lose weight, it would be on this day.
Yesterday, we had lunch ordered in and everyone took leftovers for dinner.
My leftovers went to Mandy. She called me out on not stopping by for a while. She’s right, of course. I told her about some of the travelling I have been doing and school. We talked about work trouble, which she had a hard time comprehending. I could tell that it sounded like I was making excuses when I couldn’t give a concrete answer of why things are the way they are.
We talked about where she is sleeping and different services that she’s getting. She isn’t completely without help – or friends. I get the feeling that she’s doing some couch surfing – and she’s been able to get an Obama phone. She’s concerned about where she is going to stay for the winter since she can’t go back to her parents. I wondered a bit about ProjectHOME. I shelter isn’t optimal, but it’s better than the street. Maybe. Maybe not. I like to think it is. But, that’s not what I chose when I had the option either.
She told me that she’s been trying to save money to get to Jersey because her grandmother is in the hospital. She was crying… and whether or not she needed money for this reason, she obviously needs it for something.
She’s been having trouble getting the money and she said she wished everyone would just give her a quarter. As I have said before, I’ve never given her money. I don’t think I’ve ever given actual money – anything but some change – to a homeless person before, preferring goods and services that I know are more likely to go where intended.
We talked for a bit and I broke my own rule, giving her $5. It’s not something I can really afford, but I can afford it better than she can. She was surprised. It was obviously not what she expected from me. And, I hope she doesn’t expect it again.
I wished her luck and went off to my train. On the way, a guy asked me if I was from the ‘housing commission.’ I replied that I was not. He following me a ways, asking again and was quite insistent for an answer. He said that the way I was talking with her, he wanted to know if I was from the housing commission. I repeated that I was not.
I looked at him, solid as a old school goth at Dracula’s Ball and said, “Don’t you worry – Mandy and I are cool.”
He stopped and took a step back. “Oh, you know her?” he asked.
“Yea, I know her,” I answered as nonchalantly as I could.
He nodded, proper as you please and said, “Oh, well then you have a nice day ma’am,” and walked in a completely different direction.
I was lucky that my train came literally seconds later and I was whisked away into my safe space.
I’m not sure exactly what the heck that was, but all I know is I have a bad feeling about this.