N3VLYNNN Superscript
The Homeless Woman Who Lives in My Heart

The Homeless Woman Who Lives in My Heart

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been acquainted with a few homeless women in my hometown. I’d like to share a story of one in particular who I shared a profound connection with, as well as some reflections on my own lived experience.

December 14, 2023

I was walking briskly down Main Street on a late December afternoon, when I spotted an unusual sight out of the corner of my eye. 

“Can you spare some change, please?”

I turned my head only slightly, and witnessed a very young, caramel-skinned woman with thick, coily hair, perched on her knees in the corner entryway of an abandoned boutique. 


Time slowed down for half a millisecond as I did a hard double-take in my head, and my heart, processing and confirming what I thought I saw, and all the understandings that came with it:

A young black girl, begging on her knees in front of Faces, the Iconic shop that used to be a total fashion oasis for every quirky-cool teenage girl in the area. Faces was a colorful, zany, fun, two-floor boutique that I used to love, that suddenly shut down and blackened its windows in 2019 without warning after 33 lively years. 

The abandoned building had no successors up until that very point in time, when it was selected as prime real estate for this young woman in my reflection to crouch down underneath the protective roof of its gateway, and make herself as visible as possible in her public cry for help. 

Who is she? What is she doing here?

I took careful note of her presence, but I didn’t break my stride. 

I was in a bit of a hurry, on my way to the police station to file a report for domestic disturbance before the sun went down. I needed to gather documentation so that I could apply for state-funded aid to be rehoused in a safer space. 

I looked squarely at her as I walked past, responding to her request for money.

“I’ll check, Okay?”

“Okay!” She said.

There was something about the way she said, “Okay!” that was almost a little too lucid and innocent. She was present and clear as day. I could hear the earnestness in her voice. She was not yet jaded to the streets. She was vulnerable and out of place. 

Now I was walking even faster, further away from her, urgently fumbling in my fanny-pack for a tightly folded up dollar. 

Now I had a new mission to be fulfilled before the sun went down.

I had to come back for her. 

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N3VLYNNN Superscript
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