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Have you ever Slept in a Car?

Author: mikepyro7
ASL Info:    15. Male. TX
Elite Ratio:    2.11 - 21 /41 /30
Words: 1676
Class/Type: Story /Serious
Total Views: 835
Average Vote:    No vote yet.
Bytes: 8773


A true account of my time spent homeless.

Have you ever Slept in a Car?

December 2004. A few days until Christmas.

It had been almost a month since my mother and I had left our old apartment. We now slept in our car. Yes, it’s true, we were homeless. Broke. Something I never thought, something I’d never hoped, we would be. But we were, nonetheless.

My mom spent most of the day either looking to find work, sleeping in the car when she was exhausted, or cleaning houses for money. My mother is an incredibly strong woman. Stronger than any I have ever met. But even she gets down.

She would spend hours trying to find the cheapest foods. I remember how excited I was when I found a large drum of popcorn for only four dollars. I couldn’t believe it. How insanely nice the feeling was.

When we were nearly broke my mom would give blood. She’d receive about thirty dollars, but the procedure always left her sick and weak. I’d take care of her. My mom can’t give blood. If my mom was too weak we sometimes would borrow money from a friend, mainly David, my mom’s old real estate partner. It was humiliating.

Did I stink? No, not really. My mom sometimes worked as a janitor for minimum wage at her old agency. I was able to wash myself in the bathrooms. I’d just strip down and wash my face and hair in the sink. Then I’d put the soup all over my body and use a wet washrag to clean it off. The place was a mess after I was done. Then I’d exit and stand outside, watching for anyone needing to use the toilet, while my mom washed herself.

It never once occurred to us to talk to my father. He’d abandoned us a long time ago, before I was born. He didn't’ want a son. Do I hold it against him? No. Do I hate him? No, but sometimes I wonder why I don’t. He just made a mistake, and he missed out on something great. Me.

My little dog Spike stayed with us. At night he slept at the bottom of the seat. We tried to get into a shelter, about four days before Christmas, but they wouldn’t allow dogs. My mom gave me the question, what would we do with Spike? If he was away he wouldn’t eat, he’d starve to death. I gave her an answer. No way. Aside my mom, the only thing in life that means the world to me is Spike. So we left the shelter.

Being Diabetic caused us problems, sometimes I’d go low at night and we’d have to stop and eat. I still got my medicine, at least the insurance helped us. If we didn’t have it, I’d be dead. There would be no way we could afford it. A month's worth of my supplies cost over $1,000. We were lucky there.

This wasn’t the first time we’d slept in a car. When I was in sixth grade we faced the same problem, but only for a week or so. We’ve had money problems ever since I was diagnosed, and even before that. I haven’t had a house, a real home, since 1996. No real home for a decade. We slept in apartments.

The first time ended when an agent at my mother’s office told us we could stay at her house. What followed are some of the darkest times in my life. Her name was Alma, an evil woman. I know it's wrong to say such things but she was an evil person, so was her husband, Rick. Alma was only fifty, two years older then my mom at the time, but she looked like she was eighty. I guess it was from all the nicotine and marijuana cigarettes she smoked.

Yes, Alma was a pothead. She grew a few plants in her backyard garden. But that wasn’t the problem. Alma seemed to have the idea that she controlled us. She later revealed that the only reason she asked us to stay was so that my mom could become her assistant. She was strict with money too. One of the freakiest things she told us was that she only wanted us to use four sheets of toilet paper when ever we went to the bathroom.

I make light of the situation. As for her house, it was a mess, mildew and crack in the wall. Ripped up carpeting. And a very bad neighborhood. The kind you see in movies.

Spike stayed in the backyard at the time, he wasn’t allowed in the house. I went out to play with him every day. Our room was small, one bed. While my mom was gone I spent most of my time holed up, doing my homework and reading. Another thing about Alma was that she hated me to, not outright, but silent anger. Why? I think it’s because I read Harry Potter.

Alma thought Harry Potter was evil. That it was demonic witch craft. And this came from a woman who started smoking when she was twelve, grew marijuana plants in her backyard, and used to be a prostitute. How I ever got mixed up with her is beyond me. I could tell she didn’t like me, but I wasn’t scared of her. I was scared of her husband.

Now I liked Rick when I first met him, he didn’t seem anything like Alma. He taught me how to play backgammon, which I’ve long since forgotten how to play, and he got me interested in basketball. But he drank. He was always drunk. I let Spike inside one day when my Alma and my mom were out, by then they said it was okay. We were playing backgammon when spike got into the trash can. We had had steak the night before, and spike found a piece of plastic wrap with sauce on it.

I went up when I saw it, and I pulled it away, throwing it back in the trash. My hands were covered with the sauce so I began to wash them. I’ll never forget what happened next.

Rick yelled at Spike, telling him to come to him. Spike, being only two years old at the time, didn’t like to listen, he thought Rick was playing. So he backed away. Rick went off. He chased Spike down the hall into our room, I followed. Spike was under the bed when I came in. Rick reached under and grabbed the little dog by the throat and tore him out from under the bed.

Spike was screaming and growling, biting into Rick’s hands that held him like a cat. Spike was terrified, so much that he began to urinate on the floor as Rick carried him to the back yard. The rest was like in slow motion. I saw Rick open up the back door, with one hand, and throwing Spike up into the air. Spike landed on the side of his back, hard on the concrete. If he had landed straight on his back I think he would have died.

Rick just turned and went back to watching TV. Spike was okay, but since then he’s never trusted people right away like he used to. He’s suspicious. How anyone could do that, to such a helpless animal, is beyond me. At that point I couldn’t control myself. I didn’t say anything, I just went into the computer room. A few days before I had opened the computer drawer, looking for a pen, and found a silver handgun. I went for it again. However, there was no clip in the gun. I think, that if the gun was loaded, I would have shot Rick. No, I know I would have.

The last few weeks there passed with a blur, we had accumulated enough money to move out and we left Alma, and Rick, once and for all.

Back to the days before Christmas. While I was in the park, my mom just slept outside in the parking lot, occasionally taking Spike for a walk. I remember that day, it was a good day. We did everything as always, and then we went back to the Real Estate Agency. We washed up and I brushed my teeth. Up until my mom’s job here I just brushed my teeth by pouring a bottle of water over the toothbrush then using it to rinse out.

We went out, bundled up in many blanket and slept in the car. The temperature outside was 20 degrees. I slept in the back seat and my mom slept in the front, not really awake, but not exactly asleep. I could hear her cry at night, when she thought I was asleep.

My mom decided the next day to head to the church. We went in and asked for help, this was our last hope. My mom cried when they told us they’d help. I’d seen my mom cry many times, but never out in public. The woman at the church gave us a hotel room for a week, three $50 gas cards, two $50 cards to grocery stores, and a gift card to Old Navy. I also got presents, donated toys. A basketball, board game, book, and a light up globe thing. That light up toy was our Christmas Tree.

That week I slept like I hadn’t slept in years. All day. And even though I knew that when the week was over, I’d be back in the car, I felt content.

I now live with my mother in a nice apartment, she has a steady job as a self-storage manager, and Spike is still with us, The world may seem a harsh place. And people may seem to be twisted and cruel. But, all that aside, there’s always someone there to help you...

Submitted on 2006-09-22 17:36:47     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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  I am sorry you had to go through all that man.
But it made for an extremely interesting story.
I particularly liked how you left the story for a minute to tell a side story about Alma and Rick,
it helped the reader to see that perhaps sleeping in the car would be more desirable than sleeping in a house.
Your mom sounds like an awesome person.
What church was it that finally helped you?
I also wonder what kind of dog Spike was.....

This is the first piece of yours I have read, now I have to read it all!
Keep up the good work,
| Posted on 2006-10-28 00:00:00 | by Beez | [ Reply to This ]
  i liked this piece. its stories like these that make people realize how good we have it. i do wonder what kind of dog Spike was. im odd like that. the little details make the story even more believable. kudos on good writing.

~Max Ryder
| Posted on 2006-10-15 00:00:00 | by Max R. | [ Reply to This ]
  "We were playing backgammon when Spike got into the trash can. We had eaten steak the night before, and Spike found a piece of plastic wrap with sauce on it."
"We went out, bundled up in many blankets and slept in the car."
I actually kind of excpected more from this piece. I can't believe you or anyone else has ever had to live in this horrible conditions. I think you could maybe make it bettr by describing the nights in the car more, like maybe sounds you heard, or how it felt or sometihng. I'm glad you are living in much better conditions now. Best of luck in the future.
| Posted on 2006-10-06 00:00:00 | by Caotic_Disaster | [ Reply to This ]

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