I have an apartment and can move in on Monday afternoon. I won’t be leaving the Downtown area, but it is a much better block than I am currently on. So it is not big, just one bedroom, but it is mine, with a front door that closes and I will only have to put up with letting in the subsidy administrator twice a month to show her we are living there and we are ‘not wrecking the place.’
I have spent most of the day trying to get utilities on, signing paperwork, arranging moving our things over on Monday, and generally trying not to lose my mind while dealing with people who seem to want to insist on being….difficult.
You see when you are in this position you have to be grateful. You have to be compliant and submissive. You have to be appreciative. I am burnt out from being nice in the face of unreasonable behavior. Some people have been absolute saviors. Others not so much. There has been so much kindness and help from people I barely know – (thanks, B. and family!) and a lot of support and kindness from the darling Ruthie.
But, I have an apartment. The rent is paid for a year under the subsidy. We won’t be able to get beds in that first night, but we can sleep on blankets on the floor. We have an apartment and will be left alone for the most part. We have an apartment for the first time in many years.
After spending years on the road, years camping, years running, over 9 months in a rough tough shelter, we finally have a home. I will no longer be homeless. The Boy gets his own bedroom. I will sleep in the living room, and make myself a little den to write from. I even have a window with a window seat to look out of onto the street below. We know this part of town well, it holds on surprises, I know where to walk and where to avoid, and I suppose I get to keep my street cred. No North Beach naice haven for me! No Russian hill snobbery. No Filmore cool. At this rate I will end up a fixture on these streets, but like the sweet lady who works here said, “You don’t live outside, honey!” That is right. I can shut the door, pull the curtains closed, and make a meal in my own kitchen.
I have an apartment to move into Monday, and it doesn’t even seem real. It has been a huge slog to even get this far, to find somewhere that would take the subsidy, to tour and apply. We have looked at so many places, and been turned down so many times. I have struggled to cope in the shelter recently. It has been noisy and dangerous and some of the staff are not as compassionate or gentle as they should be. I won’t know what to do with myself.
I feel utterly shocked. I will have a key to a door. A room. A bed. A kitchen. Privacy. I will be able to give my Boy a room of his own for the first time in his life. No one will be insisting I get up by 7am, or don’t lock my door. No one will be commenting on the way I live, or what I am doing or wearing, or insisting I turn up to meetings of an entire community in the middle of a contagious pandemic.
I wish I could just move in today. I haven’t had a home of my own for so many years. I don’t know how to even process it.
At least I am not going far this time, and will be able to stay put for at least a year. I might even get myself a little dog. Life might just get more enjoyable. I can barely dare to hope that it will.