While I sat there in the shelter and waited for my phone to charge, I observed my surroundings. There were an awful lot of people there seeking out help. It was amazing, to me, how many families showed up looking for beds. I felt so bad for them, mine was a temporary situation, theirs was much more permanent.
I watched as children played together, and kept each other occupied. I paid attention as people talked among themselves. Then, after a while, a woman came and sat down next to me. She started telling me about the shelter and some of the staff. Now, I don’t know if what she said was true or not, and I am not about to repeat that because I don’t know.
However, it did start worrying me. She’d leave the shelter to go smoke, several times. I saved her chair because I wanted to make sure she had a place to sit. She came back inside one time, and talked with one of the workers there. She told me she just couldn’t take another day on the streets, and said told them she needed to be in a hospital.
After a while, I got my phone back from the receptionist. She charged it to fifty percent, and I was grateful for the juice. I continued to sit there, but got back on my phone and started reaching out to people. Plenty on the internet were telling my to sell my body. I turned that down fast.
Another person told me to stay in the shelter, so I did. But, when the woman who was sitting next to me came back, I realized I still had my membership to a gym. And, knew if I could just figure out how to get to one, I could go and hang out there in relative comfort. I paid for the extra special membership after all.
I started checking out my phone for the closest gym. The closest one was forty minutes by bus, I didn’t know if I had enough money for another Marta trip. Meanwhile, I was getting nervous again and was telling the woman sitting next to me about my gym membership. I told her that I could bring a guest, and if we could figure out how to get to one…I would sign her in.
We walked outside, and talked in the sunshine. She told me things that hurt my heart. It’s her story to tell, and I am not repeating it. But, I really felt for this woman and her plight, I couldn’t believe her positive attitude among the division in her life. She seemed so intelligent, and I’ll be honest in saying she was missing some teeth.
She watched out for me, and told me about some of the predators in the area. Yes, they were of all races, and all genders. So, enough, enough with the one kind of person is bad. You can’t know who is bad until you get to know them, and pay attention to their actions.
She kept trying to get me to go, but I didn’t have any money. So, we parted ways when I went back into the shelter. I didn’t see her again after that. My “friends” on the internet convinced me the shelter was the best place for me, that once I got a bed..things would get better.
Once I got back upstairs to the check in area of the shelter, I realized the place was in chaos. People were starting to be disrespectful to at least one of the women. It was obvious, to me, that she was just trying to stand up for herself. But, others were picking on her, and she seemed miserable.
During this time, an elderly woman was sitting there. I noticed her legs were swollen. One of the other people in the shelter told her she should move her chair back so she could put her leg up. I noticed her struggle, and tried to help as best I could. Once she pushed her chair back on her own, I pushed another chair closer to her and helped her lift her leg onto the chair. My training as a nurses aide came in handy at that point.
Some of the children were her grandchildren, and one wanted to sit near her. But, he sat on her leg, it was obvious it was causing her pain. I tried to coax him into another chair, but I think he was afraid of me. I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb in my sundress.
At this point, I texted a friend who encouraged me to call another friend. I asked one of my best friends to wire me money, so I could get a hotel room. There was just no possible way I would be able to handle staying in that shelter. I knew I had other options.
I said good bye to the receptionist, telling her that I had a friend wiring me money. I asked if I needed to sign out, she told me I didn’t. So, I picked up my bags and started walking towards a Publix. I had to ask a couple with a small child sitting on the corner which way to go, but eventually…I started trekking in the right direction.
I got to Publix, and was helped out by some very nice employees. They helped me figure out which form to use, and made sure I got my money. I purchased a few things to drink, and eat, and asked if they sold chargers for cell phones. They didn’t, but told me the Walgreen’s down the way did.
The people at Walgreen’s were very nice, and helped me figure out which charger I needed. I also purchased a Green Dot Card because I had begun getting suspicious that my bank account was hacked. I didn’t know for sure, and it wasn’t. It was just a hold from the hotel on September 17. But, I didn’t know that, then.
I walked back to Publix, and asked them to call me a cab. They did, and I spent some time getting online finding a hotel. Once I found one, I took the cab to the hotel. It cost a minor fortune, I couldn’t believe it. And, guess what? They didn’t take debit cards so I had to fork out cash.
When I got to the hotel, it turned out their debit machine was double charging people for their rooms. So, they couldn’t take my card. They could only take cash for the room. I was flabbergasted. But, I asked them if I could put my stuff down while I figured out what I was going to do. They were kind enough to let me.
Then, I walked down the street the hotel was on a little ways, and I sat down in the grass. I started making phone calls, and my first call was to my bank. I spoke with a kind gentleman who released my funds, and I was able to go to an ATM machine and withdraw cash to pay for my room.
I don’t think I had ever been so excited to see a bed and a shower. Maybe, but in that moment, it felt like heaven. I had peace and quiet, time to think. I walked over to a restaurant nearby and got myself a salad. I brought it back to my room and started eating it. I felt I could breathe for the first time in a while.
But, I was still on my hacked phone and hacked computer, I was still talking with people I wasn’t sure I could trust. And, I told other people I knew I could trust that I was okay. I made sure they knew I was safe in a hotel room. Although I had no plans, still, on how to get to Philly, I was happy to be alone.
Around this time, one of the people on the internet that I never met in real life, gave me a phone number to call. I called it and talked with a very nice gentleman who put my mind at ease. I also was given a phone number by another person, this person was trying to get me to the DNC in their own way, but I wasn’t sure if I could trust this person. I declined the offer to “come get me”.
I fell asleep that night talking with the nice gentleman on the phone, it was a blissful sleep and I convinced myself I could fly to Philly, if I could just come up with the funds. The hotel offered a shuttle to the airport, and I still had money to spend while there. So, I decided that’s exactly what I would do.
I climbed into the hotel shuttle bus, and I was starting to feel better. The driver was this nice man, and I tipped him when I got out. I walked into the airport with no idea what I was going to do, but I figured I had made it that far on my wits…I would be fine.
It Was July 2016
Thank You For Reading
I’m a NonBinary “Cat Person” Who Puts Humanity/Animals/EcoSystem First. In the past, I’ve worked with those with Developmental Disabilities and Autism. And, in many different Service Industries.
Though I have no degree, I’ve been writing my whole life as a way to cope with PTSD from the Traumas I suffered as a Young Person.
I’m Fifty One, Divorced Three Times, Lost Both My Parents By the Time I Was 21.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @Enigma51423634
YouTube – deblynrob
Patreon – patreon.com/EnigmaInitiative