“I can walk, but I have neuropathy and my feet hurt really bad,” she told me. I glanced down at her feet and noticed they were swollen to the point where you could barely see her toenails.
As we talked I watched people pass her by. She looked me in the eye and said, “People ignore me, they try not to make eye contact.” Despite the fact that most refused to even look at her, she made an effort to tell everyone to have a nice day.
When I asked where she was from she laughed and said, “In the past eight years, I have lived in California, North Carolina, (pause) Tennessee and now here… Florida.” As the heat from the Orlando sun beat down on her it was obvious that she left something behind in Tennessee from the way she said “Tennessee” while glancing down. Without me even asking she remarked, “My children are in Tennessee – I gave them up so that they would have a better life than I could provide.”
At age 45 she lives on the streets. Her home is the entryway to an auto repair shop whenever they are closed at night.
“What a weary time those years were -- to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.” ― Charles Bukowski, poet (1920-1994)