I didn’t think of giving my toys up as being kind; I enjoyed the fact that I was helping someone in need. They were homeless; there was the mom, who was wearing a T-shirt with some wrecked jeans, and the daughter who was the same age as me: twelve years old, wearing nothing but a sweatshirt, and some shorts. It was a “hand blistering” day in the middle of winter on the west side of Chicago. They had told us everything; about their life; their circumstances, and why they had nowhere to go. What would it be like to be in a T-shirt in the freezing cold? What would it be like to be hungry in the middle of winter? What would it be like to be homeless in the middle of Chicago?
They looked hopeless, like puppies in the pound looking for a safe and dependable home, homeless, cold, and hungry, my mom had seen them during her smoking outside, and brought them inside our house; she was just that type of person; like a soldier that would never leave the battlefield without making sure everyone else was safe, no matter the circumstances.At first glance all of my emotions and judgments were swirling through various thoughts when i first saw them: I didn’t know who they were, and couldn’t figure out why they were dressed in such town clothes in the middle of the winter, but i came up with many possibilities: possibly Mexican immigrants, formal gang members, or neighbors that had gotten kicked out, due to constant reminders of their on-going eviction notice.
I was wrong about every single thought that came to mind.They lived on the south side of Chicago, with their uncle, in a small apartment that he owned. It just happened that he had got a little too sick of them and wanted to be on his own. They had no place to go, and no family members to help them; it wasn’t eviction, it was more like puppies that had gotten kicked out of the pound.
All of our lights were on in the front room; all of the other rooms were dark; all of the doors were closed. It was a small house; one room which was mine, and a bathroom, which me and my mom shared. We had a couch just far enough from the TV to see the blinds that covered our three windows, which were above the TV, right behind it. The room had a citrus aroma; it was a smell that warmed your chest with tranquility; coming from the fluorescent candles my mom had put in the kitchen in attempt to get rid of the cigarette stench that came from her bad habits. The warmness of the candles almost helped me to believe that everything would be ok; but i knew that the heat from the candles were my newly-met-friends only warmth; inside they were shivering; full of anxiety, sorrow, and hopelessness. I knew they were worried; worried about what they were going to eat the next morning, worried about where they were going to sleep, and worried about where they were going to be in their near future.
I was never able to ask them if they actually felt worried, but by looking in their eyes, and looking at their facial expressions, it was easy to clarify my assumption. The smell, the coziness, and the warmth of the fluorescent citrus candles entered our souls; it gave my new friends a glimpse of what life could be like if they could just smell those candles on a day to day basis, relax in a stable environment, and gradually gain the true warmth that those fluorescent citrus candles were supposed to provide.
I gave up some of my school supplies and some of my clothes to the girl who was around my age, but i felt as if it was an insignificant gesture; i only wished that i could’ve gave more. My mom and I waited patiently for the mother to finish using our phone; nevertheless, the drive back to their uncles house was something i had no patience for; thus, i never wanted them to go back home. Emotionally, i wasn’t prepared for the drive all the way back to their uncle’s house, it didn’t feel right to leave someone in the slippery hands of a careless being; nevertheless, i didn’t have the authority to weigh the other options. The drive was long and felt unsettling like, as i knew that everything would not be ok in their situation, and their uncle would put them back on the street within weeks. The red lights were long, the car was freezing, and the seats were hard. Staring at a big building, i could only imagine the appearance of the man that stood inside of it; big gut, big beard and a bald head; i could see it in my mind, but i was never able to justify my imagination.
I couldn’t see anything looking up at their window, the only thing i saw was a light; and that light remains as my last memory of the homeless strangers. I only wonder what ever happened to them; looking up at the window i worried about what would happen that night. i never knew what the little girl’s uncle was like; i never knew what the little girl’s uncle did; and i never knew what justified kicked a family member out in need of help. I did struggle with my large imagination that night. Would you be worried about them? Would you expect them to be in a safe environment in a year, or two years? Would you expect them to be happy? I did my farewell to the window as my mom drove off; it was a sad moment for me, and a moment that I’ll never forget. I found them cold, homeless, and desperate; but after leaving that window, i felt the slightest bit of hope enter into my spirits, at that moment, i knew that they would be ok.