Celeste Disappears, pt 2~ In Search of a New Life

Ah, cookies and a hot cup of afternoon tea sitting on Grandma’s comfortable old sofa, a lovingly crocheted afghan wrapped around her shoulders and a fire gently crackling in the antique wood stove . . the memory warms her for a moment as she wakes in her box under the bridge. She is sore and stiff and had only briefly slept as daylight crept in and she felt safer.
The noise of the traffic up on the bridge had been almost hypnotic but she couldn’t risk sleeping and allowing herself to be left vulnerable. She used the time to pray and look back and ahead. Yes, she’d escaped, but now what? She was 18, alone with minimal money and no job. And what if they came after her? Had she walked far enough in the night to be safely out of range thus too much trouble to pursue?! Only intense prayer could solve all this!
Today would be the first full day of her life on her own. . . and her first full day homeless. How long could she live in a cardboard box under a busy bridge, she wonders.Probably not very long so she’d need to find a better spot soon!! She pats her pocket, yes, all her papers are still there. She had grabbed a bit of cash and her birth certificate before leaving, having to take advantage of a brief moment alone.
Now, awake, hungry and vividly aware of the stench of trash thrown into the damp and puddles under the bridge she needs to stash her box and plastic then look for food . . and maybe even hot coffee. Carefully she folds up the box and blanket then wraps these in the plastic noting how fragile everything she owned is.
“A lot like my life”, she thinks as she looks for a place to hide these precious items. She is 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!
Celeste decides to stash her new home deeper under the bridge in an area she hadn’t seen last night, then she heads off in search of a new life.
“First I need food!”, and her stomach growls in agreement. She remembers there were several restaurants nearby and she heads towards those. Now is 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.
The streets are quiet as the sun rises. The buildings are all either gray or limestone and the contrast in nice. Soft rays of sunlight peek between office buildings as she walks and she notices a slight hum of traffic in the distance. Celeste makes a right turn onto Ottawa St. and heads to a small restaurant she’d passed on her way to school years ago. Instantly she is surrounded by the tantalizing aroma of bacon and eggs as she slips around back. She approaches the back door just as a man in kitchen garb comes out carrying a bag of trash.
Celeste hesitates in embarrassment but yet is so hungry. Quietly she says, “Hi. . I was wondering if you have any scraps I could have, please?” The man looks up 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 asks.
“Don’t have any. I just turned eighteen.” she replies.
“I can give you food today, but don’t make this a habit.” he answers and disappears into the kitchen. He returns with a steaming plate of bacon and eggs saying, “Some rich guy said the eggs were too done. Wouldn’t even take a bite!”
Celeste gobbles it down and thanks him asking where the soup kitchen is. He gives her directions and she is on her way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s