She bites her lip nervously as she checks the weather on her phone. She knows they are in for some cold, windy days. She glances at her bed at the little boy who is sound asleep. Her heart is filled with love for him. She rechecks her phone hoping that something will change. Her electricity has been off for a week; her rent is past due. Weather stays the same. Her eyes well up with fear. There’s a little remorse and a lot of disgust behind them too.
She no longer receives WIC, as her son is now five. She only gets $16.00 per month in food stamps. As soon as she got that letter in the mail, she balled it up and threw it against the wall. “What in the hell am I supposed to do with $16.00?”
She lights the stove with a match, deciding to boil some water for oatmeal. She doesn’t remember the last time she ate anything normal. She was grateful for the school for free lunches. At least her son got some good food. She pours the last of the oats into the pan. Her tears spilling down her face. She still has the scent on her body of the guy she left moments before. The smell of him makes her gag. She grabbed the $20.00 bill out of her pocket, hiding it beneath the cabinet- just in case she gets robbed again.
Her parents gave up on her years ago. Frustrated because she was a drama queen and loses her temper at times. They’ve helped her over and over again, but they became weary, and with their health problems, couldn’t handle the stress any more. She knew she was a handful, always had been, but in her heart she means well.
Last week, she went to the church to ask for some food. They stated they were not a food bank and asked her “politely” not to come back unless she dressed more conservatively. Apparently, her skirt was too short and her makeup was a little too flashy. Also, they didn’t like her midriff to show at all, not that she realized it was showing or anything. She was told that a church was a place for respecting God. She was humiliated as she quickly walked out of there thinking to herself, “Wasn’t Jesus about love- and friends with everyone?” She wiped her face as she entered her ten-year old, rusty, Buick.
She tried to find a job. Every single day she put in applications. She knew she couldn’t pass a drug test though. She justified it by not doing hard drugs, but the occasional Xanax or Marijuana got her through the disgust of being passed around guy-to-guy all day long, while her little one was in school. She prayed every day, to Jesus, Allah, God, Satan, Zeus, anybody that might help her. She didn’t want this lifestyle, she was smart, she knew better, but she needed the money and she needed it quickly. Besides, she didn’t really have anything to put on a resume.
Society looks at her with disgust. She sometimes hears women mutter nasty things as they go by her. Men laugh, then ask for freebies. They grab at her and often she fears for her life. There’s been a few times she’s grabbed for the gun, but then she looks at the little boy laying in her bed and puts it away. For this purpose, she doesn’t keep it loaded. She knows that she can’t give up.
If only society could appreciate her strength…