Short | Shelter

There was a slash on her left shoulder. Her skin was discolored and the varying shades of pink defined the depth of the knife. It was winter and she wore a distressed white tank top covered by a red and black moth eaten, woven wool cardigan. The shoulder of her sweater crept down her arm; pulling the curtain back to showcase her scar. Her sliders weren’t meant to be trendy but simply to give the bottom of her feet a protective sole. White socks attempted to keep her feet warm while she scuffed from car to car telling her story and begging for money. The pants she wore sagged loosely mimicking her sad eyes. There were red beads strung around her neck. I wondered if she owned them her entire life or if she found them in the street and gifted them to herself. I hope they made her feel good. When people dropped change in her crinkled, dirt smothered cup, she looked deep in to their eyes and thanked them.

She told her story. The one where someone moved a knife slowly down her arm while threatening to steal her belongings. She was staying at a shelter. Now she doesn’t feel safe in shelters.

Her feet slid slowly along as if she were being dragged, body limp and limber. There was something elegant about the way she moved her arm, holding the cup, in and out as she tried to grab the attention of zombified internet obsessives. I wondered what people would do if they had no where else to look but at her.

She is a human being and she, from her story, was suffering and needed help. She needed shelter.