Aug. 30th, 2016

dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I wondered if he noticed my brief hesitation as I considered how much I wanted to share in response to what he's just asked. It was an innocent enough question, one about whether I was always a local. How many times had I elaborated variations on this story of late?

"I just moved here after 43 years in Pittsburgh," I replied. "I have an apartment starting the day after tomorrow." I could have stopped there, left it at that. Instead, though, I caught my breath before continuing.

It had been the night before New Years' Eve when my friend showed up. I slumped in his arms as I sobbed briefly, before composing myself. I collected a small pile of clothes and my laptop, and we left to cross the city. For much of the next several months, the spare bedroom at his home would serve as mine.

His family seemed in no rush to have me gone, but I try to take nothing for granted. My barren fiscal standing left me unable to get a place myself, though, and so I hoped I wouldn't be too much of a burden.

"It will be the first time this year I've had my own place to live," I said as I ended the thought. If he was bothered by my explanation, he betrayed nothing. There wasn't really anything different about me anyway: my neat appearance betrayed nothing about my status. Blue hair aside, I looked not much different than anyone else present.

You might well have thought you didn't know anyone who's homeless. Two days, yet, still separate me from a place which is mine, from no longer being transient. In the meantime, I have spent all of this year in places where I had no claim beyond friendship. I leaned harder than I felt any right to. It is an experience which lends additional empathy, but it is not one I'd dare suggest everyone should have.

No, just the opposite: homelessness is an experience *no one* should have.

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dariaphoebe

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