i found her again.

August 6th, 2009

This happened a while ago, but i need to catch up on it.

i had not been to St. Francis House in a while. There had a been a shooting. That’s euphemism. There was a murder. But that’s what drew me there. Despite the clientele being a tad rustic, violence is usually dealt with swiftly and without injury. They have a metal detector at the door and you have to be searched if you want to have a meal. Their record on murders is about the same as Harvard.

They have a uniformed Boston Police Officer on duty. Several staff people also work security. They all carry walkie-talkies. One of them is a beautiful young Latina. The last time i had been there she was ‘with child’. This time she was abundantly so. i was glad she and the baby had not been hurt. Still i was unsettled. i asked her if she was going to take some time off for the baby.

“Soon.”

“It’s going to be a beautiful baby.’

i queued up through the Atrium. Most of the folks sitting at the tables in the middle of the room had their heads up. Only a few trying to catch an unauthorized nap. Sleep is a bigger problem than even hunger for the homeless. i made my way around the outer ring of the room. Finally, i got to the staffer with the walkie talkie – it was the Latina, but she did not want to be engaged. We got the signal that there was room in the dining room.

There she was – the Aviatrix. She had some sleeping gear which she did not when i met her. It was light – appropriate to the weather. Somehow she survived the cold. She sat by herself. And she ventured into animated conversation with herself. I dared not try to sit with her. On the way out, I tried to get her attention, but she did not remember me. The bag holding her gear was torn. i vowed to try to remedy that.

i got a couple of brand new plastic bags from the Shelter and a companero and i went down to the House. She was there. Her fair chubby cheeks were pink from the sun and her perfect pug nose was bright red – almost ready to peel. She was, as often before, engaged in animated conversation with herself. i tried to offer her the bags, but she quite vehemently shooed me away. Women in those settings often would rather not know what the men want from them. Understandable. She touched my life oh so briefly, but she offered me a moment of clarity in my confusion. But i cannot return the favor. Sadmaking. i left her again … in animated conversation with herself.

i asked the woman by the metal detector, “Please don’t let anyone hurt the baby.” As if she needed to be told. But i needed to say it.

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