Its hard to explain the intense emotions that where felt when I confronted the gender bias of homelessness.. this wasn’t the first time, nor was it my last.
One day I was speaking to a woman, and as she told her story dusk began to shift to evening.
Her: William, look I gota go.. its late and it aint safe out here, even here at night.
Me: I don’t understand why you don’t go in a shelter, find a safe place out of the cold.. winter will be here soon
Her: I told you before, thats not easy..they ask you a lot of questions, make you sign all these papers.. then put you in a room with a bunch of bitches that keep telling the same story every day.. shit I know what its like to be raped.. do you?
Me: yes you explained that part of your life before .. and I don’t want to make you afraid, but OCCUPY will be ending soon.. and you won’t be able to come here during the day and sit in the sun, or get a meal…will you go back to the row?
Her: what do you mean.. I explained it before, you aint heard nothing.. don’t know where I will go.. this aint how I wanted my life, I’m not even 40 years old..
Me: so where are you going now.. where are you going to sleep?
Her: come with me..there is a place a bunch of us are setting up.. but you can’t tell nobody, or these mutherfuckers will come out at night looking for us, and once they get drunk and smoked-out.. shit, I could have stayed at home.. and had my man talk bad to me..motherfucker was nice until he started to drink, always tell me i wasn’t responsible.. blamed me for his drinking… I don’t even drink, didn’t even smoke rock till i got down to the bottoms.
Me: Its getting late, you can talk while we walk
Her: yea.. this is the place..
Me: umm, you do realize you are still sleeping on the street.. that this long ass hallway isn’t really yours.. I thought you said you where setting up a place with a bunch of women.
Her: why the fuck you wanna make me feel bad.. don’t you understand, motherfucker have you heard me..you shouldn’t even be here.
Me: hey.. not trying to tell you how to feel.. just want you to know..
Her: ..want me to know what? that you just want my story.. see me cry.. fuck you motherfucker.. get the fuck out of here..
As I walked down the block I could still hear her yelling at me.. slowly it faded as the neon lights of broadway began to glow.
The next day I came to OCCUPY early with hopes of finding her .. that night the police raided OCCUPY.. never saw that many police before, well - they shut it down.