Opinion
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Je Suis Homeless

By | Jan 12, 2015

downloadI am homeless.

I am an elderly man who has been living on your streets for more than 35 years. You walk by me—sometimes with a disdained face. You step over me, as if I am a stray dog.

You walk around me, as if I am going to harm you, or harm the child that is holding your hand. Maybe you divert your path because of my smell.

I am homeless.

I am a 12 year old girl who attends school. But when I return to my family at the end of the school day, I enter a motel room. My mom and my three other brothers are stuffed into this tiny room. The carpet reeks of cigarettes. I have no privacy. I can’t go on Instagram like the girls at school. I can barely do my homework when there are four other people surrounding me. I feel like I am suffocating. This is my so- called home.

I am homeless.

I used to be this proud guy who wore a uniform and traveled to a faraway land to defend this country. The armor in my hands made me feel powerful and omnipotent. I felt like I could rule the world…until friends in my unit started dying. Until I felt like every step was my last step on this earth. I used to be a strong person…until the ghosts of war haunted my being. I finally ended up back home. But home is now a dumpster in some alley.

I am homeless.

I was a guy who camped out on a sidewalk, drowning out my problems with vodka. Who needed therapy when a bottle did the trick? I am sure my clothes smelled of alcohol. That guy with hatred in his eyes didn’t have to soak me with lighter fluid before he flicked a match or a lighter—whatever it was— it ended my life very quickly.

I was homeless.

Why do cities create laws that turn my state of homelessness into a crime? I can no longer sleep on the sidewalk. No longer park on the streets. No longer eat at a public feeding site.

Why do they call me homeless—a noun that seems so degenerate. I am no longer a person. I am a reprobate.

I am homeless.

One Comment

  1. Posted Feb 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I have always been impressed by people who do not have a shelter over their heads, but I try to see the glass half full. When I will have enough money, I'll try to build a shelter for people who do not benefit from a safe place in which to conduct their daily activities.