This is the fifth post in an 8 part series on being homeless, by a guest author who goes by the name Dreamscaper. It’s my honor to share his story with my readers.
I consider me surviving homelessness was only because of the good hearted friends and strangers who took care of me once they found out about my situation.
The first person to find out was a friend living in the dorms who offered to store my books I bought with me. There wasn’t anything he could do so he did what he could – he kept my stuff safe so I wouldn’t have to bury it or hide it.
The second person was the person who kicked me out of the dorms. Again, he couldn’t do much, so he did what he could. He is still on my friends list on my messenger program. I also had a few friends that took me in every so often when I needed a roof over my head. Sadly I don’t remember their names.
The first persons who did something were friends I used to play cards with to pass the time. They thought I was a student still. I was sleeping in the tv lounge and took a bottle of Advil. 30 minutes later I was throwing up outside. Another 30 minutes later was my 2nd trip. By the 3rd time I was greeted by a few friends and complete strangers. Apparently one friend realized something was wrong – really wrong, and made a few phone calls.
One person who showed up made sure to go to Taco Bell right before. He gave me some tacos saying “I didn’t know when was the last time you ate”. Of course at that point I wasn’t hungry. The Advil killed my appetite and by that point I was growing accustomed to not eating. As mentioned earlier, I lost about 100 pounds in 9 months, this including the times that my friends made sure I had plenty to eat when I was hungry. I don’t remember much of these days, but if I were to guess, I probably didn’t eat much besides chips, sunflower seeds, and whatever friends gave me. So when I wasn’t doing something with friends I wasn’t eating.
They fed me, sheltered me, and did what they could for me for a month or two. One person bought a blanket to make sure I had a warm blanket. I think someone bought some clothes for me. After the month or two, the friend I was living with and paying my portion of rent, his roommates had a problem with me being there. I didn’t want to cause problems with this room mates, so I left.
I stayed at someone’s house that was in that live action role playing game. I got kicked out for 2 reasons. First, I remember a roommate having one of those big boxes of cheese fish crackers. I never had those before, but boy, where they good! One handful turned into two, into a half dozen, turned into an empty box. I still feel guilty that I ate that persons cheese fish, but they were good, and at that point I wasn’t eating. To this day (15 years later?) I still can’t buy that box of crackers because I’ll eat the whole thing in one sitting. Second reason was someone had a problem I didn’t move the shower head back to some random position. Whenever I hop in the shower I make sure it’s at a “safe spot”. I kind of assume everyone does this. Apparently not.
Considering all the times I ate out of a trash can, slept on a toilet, and did what I could to “fit in” to make it seem like I was still a student, the shower was the best thing that ever happened. I remember after 4 months of being homeless I stayed with a friend. I remember just standing in the shower for 45 minutes.
Another friend from that live action game made sure to drive me around on her days off. She took me to get food stamps, took me to fast food places and waited for me to fill out applications. I needed a food handlers card for a fast food place and she took me there and waited for me to take the test.
What finally got me off the streets was a woman who showed interest in me. We went out on one date than offered to let me move in with her. I don’t know if she knew I was homeless or just moved fast. That night I searched the net for “Sex FAQ”. I was still a virgin. But it’s been 9 months about since I first became homeless and was willing to do anything to get a roof over my head. I stayed with her for 2.5 years, got engaged to her, and things fell apart. I found out the only reason she even talked to me because she was interested in one of my friends she hoped I’d introduce. I never did because I didn’t know.
Next Week – Aftermath