As many people do, I also lived paycheck to paycheck. I lived in a nice apartment with furniture, food and the basic necessities. Nothing extra. Educated and employed. Earning a living ,doing alright.
I’ve been on my own since age eighteen and never had to return home to mom. After thirty years of being independent, it happened. My apartment building was being sold and turned into condominiums.Of course, the tenants were offered first choice to buy at three hundred fifty thousand dollars. I definetly declined that offer. I thought that by the time the building was sold, I would have save enough money for first, last and security deposit on another apartment. Didn’t happen, living check to check how could it? But I tried.
The time came when I had to leave my apartment. I packed some things into a back pack and asked my friend to keep my life valuables (one box). I told her that I didn’t have room for it at my new place , which was a rooming house that didn’t exist. All of my other possessions were donated or trashed ,I was told.You may ask ” Why not stay with some of my family ?” I didn’t want to burden any of them because they had financial and family problems of their own. Why add to it ?
I was on my way to a shelter and qiuckly changed my mind. I had heard about the kind of things that could happened to a person there. I had to do something. It was getting late. As I walked along the commons, memories of homelessness clouded my mind. These memories brought tears to my eyes and fear to my heart. I thought about taking shelter in a wooded area off the highway, a vacant building or maybe under a bridge, wondering if I could live there safely.
Suprisingly, I lasted three days without going to a shelter. I rode the trains in the late evening until they stopped runnning in the late night , usually about one or two in the morning. I would do most of my sleeping while riding the trains. I’d get off the train and sit on the bench inside the station until the trains started running again. Sometimes. I would fall asleep and be askd to leave by security / police.
During the day, I worked my regular nine to five job. No one knew I was homeless. I preped myself daily in the closest restroom and had enough clothing to change into for those days.
On my fourth day of being homeless and going to work, I couldn’t do it anymore. I decided that since I had family , there was no need for me to be homeless. I know if the shoe was on the other foot, I would help, no matter my situation. So I called my twenty eight year old niece who has one daughter and explained my situation. First she cried, then she yell at me , the she asked ” Where are you ,so I can pick you up “?
So far I have been here with my niece and her daughter for almost two years now. I’m still working and trying to save. Maybe one day I will have my own again. Something strange still happens to this day, I still look for places to live as I drive along the highways, vacant houses, doorways, wooded areas and other places that might be safe.