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Know your stereotype…

May 19, 2014

1. Her father was a junkie. Her mother once beat her so bad that she ended up in the hospital for sick kids. Passed through various stints with Children’s Aid and foster care after that.

Pregnant at 14.

Heroin at 16.

Sex work at 17.

Bladder failure, skin lesions, and Hep C at 18.

Now two weeks clean she still gets up in the middle of the night with the sweats and the chills and the anxiety attacks and the nightmare visions of a childhood lived in hell. She’ll talk for an hour – until her meds make her incoherent and then she’ll trundle off to bed and sleep until it’s time to go for her methadone.

And then she’ll try to get through another day panhandling at the corner of other people’s passing lives.

2. He said he started smoking pot at 12. It helped him relax. But it didn’t help him forget.

A friend introduced him to opiates at 14 – and after that he was at peace. So, even though he was on the streets, he could keep the nightmares of his childhood at arm’s length.

He discovered that he loved to cook – shelter staff had a friend who knew a friend and by 18 he had been promoted to line chef at a top Halifax restaurant. He had his own apartment. There was talk of sending him to chef school in Toronto. He was doing his best to stay clean, to staying positive.

But then an old friend dropped by, needing a place to crash – “it’s cold outside, you know how it is” – just a little couch surfing – and within a week pot again becomes opiates and the cooking job was soon gone – and soon there was no money for the rent and he was back on the streets and ringing the doorbell of the shelter – with what remained of his belongings in a garbage bag slung over his shoulder.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2014 11:06 pm

    Very nice slice. Could see a book like that.

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