[Hpn] Fwd: daily journal

under_the_bridgeproject@juno.com under_the_bridgeproject@juno.com
Tue, 19 Jun 2001 01:54:47 -0000


--- In under-the-bridge@y..., "Cindy Carlson" 
<under_the_bridgeproject@j...> wrote:
Better late than never, I had school today. 
but last night at 1am, I was still up doing my homework for class and 
I ran out of cigarettes so I jumped intot he car and headed out to 
the local cumberland farms. It was so nice outside compared to my hot 
apartment so I thought I would take a few spins through the downtown 
area. Always keeping my eyes peeled to the sidewalks, alleys and 
doorways- it is a condition of a raised awareness.

I saw a woman dressed in a pink shorts outfit sitting on a bench in 
veterans park. I made a pass and headed for dunkin donuts for a iced 
coffee. The women working the counter asked me if I could use some 
donuts as they were cleaning off the shelves. They packed a box of 
assorted goodies and handed them across the counter. The women and I 
meet almost every night and they often give me free coffee for the 
homeless. I give them how many and they charge me for only mine. 
Shhhh they are neighborhood girls, from da hood. they know me and the 
work.
I headed to the convience store on elm and depot st to get gas. 
Jeremy works behind the counter. He used to live at new horizons 
shelter. I ask him if he has seen anyone out tonight. He says just 
shirley but he does know where she went. I dont know this, shirley. 
we chat and then I head down elm st again.

when I made my second pass on elm st the woman moved from the park 
bench to the otherside of the street sitting on a wall. I now notice 
she has a black backpack with her. Humm whether she is homeless or 
not seems a situation worth checking out. The bars are closing and 
with bike race weekend upon us Manchester downtown is busier than 
normal. It is never safe for a woman alone on the street.

I pull the car around the corner and walk over to greet her. She 
looks at me suspect of what I wanted. I sit next to her on the curb 
pull out a cigarette and offer her one. She takes it and lights it 
pulling off a long slow drag.
"So what are you doing out so late tonight?"
She told me in an angry tone about losing her apartment because of 
actions of a roommate. her cats she misses and the lack of sleep and 
food shes suffered since thursday. Her name is shirley. 
I asked her if she knew about the shelter.
"I cant go there its unsafe for me." she says angrily
Well the streets arent too safe out here for a woman either I said.
"you dont understand, someone who is there raped me in the past."
" I told her if that was true there were legal protections in place 
that she could use to allow herself access, and I went on to explain 
what they are.
She continued to talk about who and how it all happened. 
In the short few minutes I sat with her she spilled out about 10 
years of history. Her disability, how it affects her life, what 
happened at her apartment, what hospital she just got out of. She 
told them at the hospital center she had no place to go and they told 
her that 
she couldnt stay with them any longer. "Go to the shelter" they said 
as 
they signed the discharge papers.
After a while when I couldnt convince her that I would take her to 
the shelter and get her a spot I told her about the police station 
lobby she could go into if she was feeling unsafe. They would let her 
rest with the protect and serve motto. They might assist her with 
access to the shelter if she allowed it.
I was ready to leave when another owman came over to talk to us. 
Maria slim pretty and dressed in a tube top and jeans. She looked 
like she was one of the bar crowd that had just wandered into the 
street.
She knew shirley and asked for a butt. She sat down with us and I 
introduced myself. Maria told a story of domestic violence and her 
travels from Las Vegas to NH to secure safety for her and her 
children. Her sister lives here and promised her family home and 
hearth. When she got here, her sister was only able to take in her 
children for lack of space.
She had also stayed at NewHorizons for a couple of days but said it 
is too noisy and she couldnt sleep there.
After  another half hour and referrals to temp agencies for 
employment I left the two of them sitting on the wall.
Thinking about the safety of women.
I swung my car towards a temp agency  as I know many cars in the 
parking lot are not empty but have become mobile home for the 
homeless. I saw amy, she said she worked late and was jhsut heading 
back to new horizons. I handed her the box of donuts and she said 
she'd bring them to the shelter for breakfast. Her friend also 
worked late and the two got into a car to head "home". 
As I left to head two blocks away to walls of safety, A Take Back The 
Night rally  flashed through my mind as I drove home to the safety  
a door that locked to finish my homework for the class-In Her Image 
the feminine face of the sacred.
--- End forwarded message ---