Ah, cookies and a hot cup of afternoon tea . . the memory warmed her for a moment as she woke in her box under the bridge. She was sore and stiff and had only briefly slept as daylight crept in and she felt safer.
Today would be her first full day of her life on her own. . . and her first full day homeless. She patted her pocket, yes, all her papers were still there. She had grabbed a bit of cash and her birth certificate before leaving.
Now, awake and hungry, she needed to stash her box and plastic then look for food . . and maybe even hot coffee. Carefully she folded up the box and blanket then wrapped these in the plastic noting how fragile everything she owned was.
“A lot like my life”, she thought as she looked for a place to hide these precious items. She looked around suddenly aware she could be being watched. Funny how her brief moments of reflection had allowed her to let her guard down. Best to be more careful from here on!
She decided to stash her new home deeper under the bridge in an area she hadn’t seen last night, then she headed off in search of a new life. The first stop needed to be finding food. She remembered that there were several restaurants nearby and she headed towards those. Now was definitely not the time to be picky nor to eat at restaurants, but she might be able to get a cook to give her a plate of something that didn’t quite turn out right.
She made a right turn onto Ottawa St. and headed to a small restaurant she’d passed on her way to school. She slipped around back and approached the back door just as a man came out carrying a big bag of trash.
She hesitated but yet was so hungry. Quietly she said, “Hi. . I was wondering if you have any scraps I could have, please?” The man looked up and seemed surprised to see a disheveled young woman in a thin coat standing there in the alley looking hungrily at his bag of garbage.
“Where are your parents?” he asked.
“Don’t have any. I just turned eighteen.” she replied.
“I can give you food today, but don’t make this a habit.” he replied and disappeared into the kitchen. He returned with a steaming plate of bacon and eggs saying, “Some rich guy said the eggs were too done. Wouldn’t even take a bite!”
She gobbled it down and thanked him asking where the soup kitchen was. He gave her directions and she was on her way.