Promoting rapid sheltering of unsheltered & unprotected women.
Her eyes stop me.
I am on my way home, it’s mid-week, 11 p.m.
I’ve seen her before,
at the same corner, next to the ATM
holding a plastic cup between her hands
It’s cold, it will probably hit minus degrees at some point
I look into her eyes,
she’s probably my age, dark hair, kind gaze, in her thirties, fresh-faced
I am about to nod and pass like I normally do but then I think,
now or never
We all fall through the cracks
She’s only been there for a few weeks
just lost her job
wasn’t able to pay rent
put out on the street, she came to Dalston Lane; "it’s safer here", she says
"What can I do?"
"Well, maybe some blankets"
"Where will you sleep?"
"I’m collecting money for the hostel"
I give her money for the hostel, I can’t help it, I know,
she thanks me. I say,
"Promise me you’ll go."
I cry the rest of my way home, I’m only two blocks away...
I never see her again.
(c)2019 Sara Kärpänen