“Stay warm”, the man said to the panhandler in sincerity, passing her a bag of stuff.
When she got home after pulling off the many layers and warming up a while, Streetgirl unpacked the contents, crackers, chocolate, and Campbell’s Beef Broth. The can was strangely heavy. Hearing loud rattling when shaken, she put it down quickly; because for a second it flashed that the product could have been sabotaged and might possibly explode in her hands. Panners are sometimes targeted by haters and there are those who will not consume food or drink given them for fear of poisoning. Once, a young man spit in a coffee, passed it to her, and laughed with his friends as he drove away. She has heard far worse stories. Cautious yes, but it’s not like her to be paranoid, so she picks it back up and realizes that while the outside is no longer cold, nor is she, the soup inside is frozen and a shiver runs up her spine.
She thinks of Jeff who she’d seen at the ramp earlier. Been worried about the wee man and made a point of wishing Happy New Year and inquiring if he wanted to come home with her for a night or two. Once again he declined, so feeling helpless she gave him a five out of her small stash. She is broke but not homeless. Even when she had been years ago, the nights Streets slept outside were few, fortunate to have been directed to a Fred Victor Shelter early on and with workers’ support obtained permanent housing. Sleeping rough going on six years, he is a modern day hermit. Scottish ancestry, an East Coast Canadian, someone’s brother, father and grandfather alienated and marginalized, stuck in a lifestyle that is taking him nowhere except sadly one step closer to demise. He sleeps in his man-made shelter a mere minute walk from Yorkdale Mall and Yorkdale Condos being constructed upon the destruction of the local Toronto Housing community; which when completed is certain to create a traffic nightmare. Continue reading “Quotes from Streets: “Stay Warm!””