Homeless Horror is Human Being after all
From a distance of about 25 feet between two vehicles it was hard to decide whether her hair was a really bad dye job, or a really crappy wig. Her clothes were earth colored. And she looked scary like a very good Halloween Costume, only it wasn’t. A hesitant little girls voice emanated from where she stood. It was hard to believe it was her voice.
Mister… Mister, can you spare some change? I hate it when this happens. I feel like there is a neon sign above me, announcing to the world this guy is a sucker. Hit ’em up, he is good for some change. I am usually selective about who I give money too, but it always feels like every panhandler in the area closes in on me.
There was a real need in her voice, something I couldn’t quite know for sure, but it was there all the same. I heard a real need in her little girl voice. Sounding as if she really needed money, and was not out panhandling for her next fix.
As I stepped closer I looked at her as if I was looking at her for the first time. What I thought I was looking at was something else. This was a woman who was destroyed by whatever life she had led. I imagined alcohol in massive quantities. I had never seen anyone still breathing look so bad.
Begging is all that’s left
This woman could have been in a horror movie without additional make up. It was a terrible thought that went through my head as I walked closer. I thought, ‘…this woman could never prostitute herself. No man would ever have sex with her. Begging is all she has left. She is so ugly scary looking’.
Her facial skin looked like it was made out of cracked clay. A trip to the beauty salon that was stopped after the facial was applied. The yellow stuff cracked apart as it dried out. It was a sickly shade of yellow. As I walked closer, I could see her hair was real, dyed and thin, looking like it would break off if touched.
Not only was the skin on her face yellow, her hands were also yellow, as were the whites of her eyes. It wasn’t skin die from some job she had once upon a time. Even her pupils were a darker shade of yellow, only a little darker than the rest of her.
I thought her clothes were layered as some homeless people are want to do. From a few feet away I could see what I thought was layered clothing was distended stomach. My God this is was the most jaundiced person I had ever seen who was still walking. For that matter, I never have seen anyone look that bad even in the hospital.
“Can you spare some money? I need a little money.” That jarred me back to reality. It wasn’t a monster, it was a real person, a woman, probably younger than I am. She is real sick, maybe a few days from dying I though. She stepped back slightly, standing in between two packed vehicles.
Horror Film doesn’t pay for actors
If there was ever a horror movie where the main character did not know it was a movie, this was it. We were less than two feet apart, and it took all I could do to not show emotion on my face. She was hideous looking. In that instant, if she had grown claws and fangs, and launched herself at my throat I would not have been surprised. In fact I was prepared for it…too much Walking Dead.
At a loss for words
I could only imagine the hellish life this woman had lived. It took a lot to remind myself she was a human being. I wanted to say, “Get away from me, you look more like something from a horror show than a person!”
Instead I mumbled something about helping her out, and took out my wallet. I gave her some cash, and mumbled again that this money should get her going. My God she was a wreck. It took a lot not ask what the hell she had down to herself, and how many days did she have left before she fell over. I wanted to stare, I wanted to look away, and I wanted to ask.
I fail the screen test
What I heard instead in that trembling child’s voice was, “God bless you”. I could not get my brain and my voice working. Here before me stood this walking nightmare, and maybe that is being generous, giving to me God’s blessing. The best I managed was mumbling, “Thank you.” This was six days ago.
I see in my minds eye, people getting scared and walking, even running away, dragging their children to safety. More people scared than people willing to spare some change. I would like to think otherwise, but we have our limits, and she passed those limits with ease.
Back in the Day
In earlier times, she would have been killed for looking so hideous. Probably killed for being a witch like the young woman, Kepari Leniata in Papua, New Guinea a few weeks back. No one who would want her around. She would have been chased, kicked, and had garbage and fecal matter thrown at her. Today, few are going to help her. She would be a problem at any homeless shelter. No hospital spends money on homeless dying people if they do not have to.
I was thinking about her blessing of me today. Her blessing prompted me to write this out. I gave her some money I did not need, and she gave me something which is beyond value. Whether it was was a practiced phrase of a long time panhandler, or genuine, I will never know. I choose to think it was genuine.
My Prayer for her
These last few days I wonder if I should have done more. We both knew in the moment there was nothing more I could do for her. She is on the last lap of her final race. She runs this lap alone. I offer up what for me passes for prayer – I pray her end is easy and peaceful. She wakes in a better place with people who love her surrounding her. May God bless her.