Thursday, November 5, 2009
“I could use some douche.”
I have been watching this mid to late-twenties woman who has taken up residence on the Jackson Street bridge during the evening rush to my commuter train.
She was once very pretty, blonde/brown hair, beautiful eyes and a nice smile.
“Once” being the key word.
Her hair is now ragged, her eyes deep and hollow and that smile, when her lips part, the teeth that are left are ghastly….just nubs, brown and pitted.
Occasionally I have seen her with a couple of men, walking away from her usual begging spot, headed to I don’t know where.
The guys, not your business suit types.
So, I think about her.
Probably because she isn’t the “norm” of whom I have seen on the streets of Chicago panhandling for money.
She could be my daughter.
Last week I found her sitting at the west end of the bridge, huddled behind her sign and I squatted down to her level and said “I recognize that you are dealing with some addiction issues and I want to pray for you, what is your name?”
She wouldn’t give up her name, but she did say “You could pray for my daughter, her name is Nicole.”
So, I have been praying for Nicole and her nameless mom.
Monday of this week my walk to the train took me past her again and as I did, I just said “Praying for Nicole.”
Tuesday morning, I again thought about her and decided I was going to stop and talk with her that night.
I wondered where she slept, who were those guys I have seen her with, and I wanted to let her know that I was not willing to give her money, but I could help her out with small necessities, even items such as feminine “products”….which led to her request for douche. I was thinking more in the lines of tampons, Kotex, etc., but whatever.
So I stopped, told her that I would not give her money, that I did not have much money myself, but what might she need (douche, jeans and tops), I also inquired where she slept and who those men were that I saw her with?
One of them is her boyfriend and the others are his friends and in her words “They are good guys.”
They all sleep at a seedy, transient hotel somewhere nearby.
“Could you go and pay for a night at the hotel?” she asked.
My response “No. I told you I don’t have much money.” and I followed that up with “I will see what I can do about clothes and douche and I am still praying for your daughter, you and your addiction.”
“I do not have an addiction.” she stated.
With a shocked look, I replied “You are not addicted to drugs?”
“No, I am not.” She replied defensively thru her crack pitted teeth.
This weekend I will go thru clothes at home to see what she might be able to use and I will continue to pray for her and Nicole (who she told me is in the process of being adopted.)
But after that…..I will leave her and her non-addiction alone.
It is in the hands of the Big Guy.
she was as high as the sky