Layers

I awoke again today, with that feeling. Why am I here?

Today it was less of a depressing feeling, and more of an unproductive feeling. Friday and Saturday night I was housesitting for my brother’s in-laws. I spent two nights, and one day there.

I went to sleep early friday, and woke up in good time on Saturday. After taking care of the pets, I made a run for donuts and coffee. I played videogames most the morning, was messing around on the piano for part of the afternoon. I ordered a large pizza, and watched a two hour movie on Netflix. I played more videogames again in the evening, in a Skype call with my friends. I fed and let out the animals again in the evening, and then laid in bed on Youtube until i went to sleep again, early.

Nobody robbed the house, It’s clean, and the animals are all fed and happy.

But other than that, I did nothing productive. I sat around by myself, enjoying not having much of anything to do. I slept a lot, and it was refreshing.

Today..

My back has hurt since I woke up. I had no plans. I did not make it to church. I had spent all Saturday in a pair of sweats. I did not have a change of clothes, and though I could have; I did not feel like going to church in what are essentially, my pajamas. I tidy’d up the house, packed up my computer, and went home. Made myself coffee, and played more videogames.

But why am I here?

Saturday was my day off. Saturday was relaxing, and easy. Saturday was an excuse to not do anything. But it’s sunday. I could literally be out saving lives, and instead i’m sitting in my pajamas, playing videogames.

Why am I here?

This is not a cry for help. This is not me, telling you I’m depressed. I am actually in a pretty good mood. It snowed last night, I’ve been listening to Christmas music off and on all week. I have all next week off work. I might roadtrip to the coast, just to get out of town. Life is good.

But today..?

I changed clothes. I packed my computer. I’m at the Library.

I need to write. I need to move along in my book. I need to vent. I would eat myself alive, if I sat at home all day.

When..

I could change lives.

 

Friday evening.

I stopped by Staples, the office supply store, to pick up some documents I had ordered to be printed. They were ready to be picked up, and it was a good time for me, because I was on my way to go house sit. After leaving Staples, I got in my car to grab some food. A KFC around the corner was a quick and easy option, so I got in my car and began heading over. I didn’t make it out of the parking lot.

She sat in the light of the entryway, outside the grocery store. One door down from Staples. Hands in her lap, back against the wall, legs straight out in front.

Her eyes were the only inch of skin to be seen, as they stared off into the nothingness before her, that was the entire world.

As I rolled by in my car she seemed to stare right through me.

I pulled over. I didn’t hesitate. From inside my chest, my heart made an executive decision. My mind knows not to argue with my heart, when my heart sets its own eyes before me.

“Excuse me, do you need something to eat?”

I asked her, self conscious about my appearance, to her, and anyone else looking on. She did, in fact, want something to eat. She agreed KFC was an ok option. She asked if we were walking, or driving, and wanted to know if I could bring her right back to her current spot. I told her we were driving, and yes, I could bring her back. She picked up her sleeping bag, and followed me to my car.

I told her she could get anything off the menu.

Five Dollars. That was it.

I went and took a seat before her and told her we could sit in the restaurant and eat, but that I would take her back as soon as she wanted.

She sat one table away from mine. There was space at my table, but she sat away from me. She did not want to annoy me. She did not want Me, to have to be seen eating with her. I allowed her the space she gave herself, while we ate, but I finished my meal and moved to her table. We sat there in silence.

Even inside the building, she did not take off any layers of clothing. Not even a hood. Which, at first does not sound weird. But I was wearing a t-shirt, and a jacket. I was comfortable.

She however, had on: A wool turtle neck, under a cotton hooded sweatshirt, under a fleece jacket, under a zip up hoodie, under another fleece jacket. With a beanie, and both hoods over her head. Beside her, was her sleeping bag, stuffed into a small canvas bag.

I caught her name, and found out she was Fifty Eight years old. I tried striking small conversation but she did not seem interested in talking.

I would have liked to know..

Are you actually homeless? Do you have family? How long have you been in this area? Is this all you own? Is there anything you need?

She didn’t talk.

I asked her what kind of music she liked, to which she responded:

“Oh you know.. I like just about anything. Whatever they play.”

Which I took as a generic response for:

I never really have the chance to listen to music enough to know what i like.

While we sat in the restaurant in silence, another older lady came in. She wore a cute cold weather sweater. She had a man and another woman with her. They all looked like they were in their Fifties and Sixties. They were all smiles.

I thought to myself, comparing and contrasting the two women around me.

These could very well be the same two women, under two different realities.

The thin, Grey, 58 year old homeless woman, wearing a dozen layers of clothing, with nothing to carry but a sleeping bag.

The thin, Grey, 58 year old wealthy woman, wearing a cute little wool sweater, and too much at home, to carry into town for dinner.

Where in their lives, did they make the different choices they did, to get where they are today?

Was it even a matter of mistakes? Was one born into a well connected family with happy jobs and healthy genes?

Was the other born alone?

Where was this poor woman’s family?

I don’t know what would be worse..

Finding out she has family, and they do nothing to care for her(?)

or Finding out she has no family to even attempt carrying for her at all..

 

When I dropped her back off at the grocery store, she returned to the spot i found her, and leaned up against the wall. She dropped the sleeping bag to her side, and was motionless. I wished her a Merry Christmas, and lifted a prayer.

But I left her there. longing.

Her and I both.

There was nothing I could have done to fix her. I could not change her past. I could not clear her mind. I could not extend warmth. I could not extend joy. I could not line out her future.

All I could do was provide a meal, and show her: at least on person cares.

To me.. That did not feel like enough. Though, I am told, that is all I needed to do.

When I picked her up she was sitting, and when I left her there again, she was standing. Maybe that’s all that matters.

If if could raid the world, and raise to their feet, everyone sitting down.. I would do it.

Life is too short to sit at home, and melt away.

Perhaps, one day; I will be at a place in my own life, where I can do more in others.

 

 

Forever strive.

Change lives.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Layers

  1. I loooove this post. I have to admit that I don’t always do as much as I can. I usually have the thought, “I don’t have time in this moment to inconvenience myself and help you.” What?! How selfish. When I do something, I’m left with that same feeling. “Could I have done more?” But I try to focus on how I just provided X for this person, for at least a little while. That helps. Knowing I made a (I hope) positive moment in their life.
    And I don’t know if it’s our or my business how they got there, though my understanding is that it mostly isn’t because of choices they made, but the deck being stacked against them. Does it matter, in that brief moment of connection, how they got there? I don’t think so. Even if it’s just, “I can give a cigarette to a girl who I’m fairly certain is strung out with a bad drug addiction,” it’s enough, in that moment. I don’t want to get into the politics of homelessness/poverty, but I think in that singular moment, it was enough.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. B T dubs I saw your bemes in CA and I was like what whaaaat. And then I saw it was Crescent City pffff basically Oregon! Lol. Seems like good times though. d(^—^d) welcome to the Golden State~

        Liked by 1 person

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