photography of orange and gray building

Update: Apartment Living. Temporary Joys

On the 1st December I will have been here for three months. That fact is both a joy and a terror. A terror because I am terrified about how I will pay to stay in here, and a joy because I have my beloved privacy for the first time in many many years. There is no Pig torturing me. No Billy drinking. There is no knock on the door three times a day for a ‘wellness check’ from the staff of the shelter. Days pass where the only people I talk to are my Boy, my Ruthie and you lot on here. It is glorious. I open a door and shut it again on the world. I feel safe. I feel comforted. I feel cocooned.

The upper ‘Loin area is perfect for me. I feel like this is home. This is my stomping ground. This is where I belong. I love it here. I could stop here the rest of my life and be content. The Boy loves having his own room. He chooses to sit with me in my bedsit area, and goes off to his room to work out and sleep. This is the most normal and safe and unharassed period life that I have ever had. It is safer up here than it was down where the shelter was situated. I don’t feel particularly in danger as long as I am sensible about the time of day I am outside. The Boy can and does go out alone.

I have a clean bed with bedclothes only I have slept in. I have a sofa donated by the domestic violence program, and I have a dining table and two chairs. I have heating that works and a roof that keeps out all the wind and rain. I have a cactus that I manage to keep alive, and a tiny little speaker that plays my music with sufficient bass. When I settle down for the night in front of whatever cooking show me and the Boy have on the go, with a cup of chai tea and food that is nicely cooked I feel like a human being. Spending ten months having to hide cooking was no good for my health mental or physical.

All of this feels temporary and transient. I don’t see how I will now pay the $2000 a month to carry on in this place. This happiness will be forever looked back on as the wonderful happy year that me and the Boy got before being back out there on the street. I can’t do that to him. I figure we will have to split up and he will not be able to stay with me. That will kill me, but at this point, fuck it, what else can I do?

So I will enjoy the next nine months.

I have become not myself at all. I struggle to talk to people, I struggle in social situations. I don’t feel like myself at all. That is partly because I am so fucking stone cold sober that I am not myself at all, and consequently stymied and silenced and caught up on a hook in my mind. Partly it is a reaction to finally having privacy. I feel like holing up and making the rest of the world keep their distance after so long of my bedroom being other people’s public place. I build myself forts out of cushions and pillows as I sleep, I cram myself into corners, and wake at the slightest noise. I can’t abide the dark. I have to keep on some music otherwise I get freaked out. Add to that the loss of Billy, being let down by someone I wrongly trusted, and being in a position to try and process all the loss of the last seven years and I fear I am not doing so well.

I long for one of those days on the road where we didn’t have much at all, but had each other, and the forest kept me feeling safe and shielded and hidden. Washing my hair under a cold camp spigot, walking through the wilderness looking out for bear, and wild horses thundering past me as I stood there still and silent. Nothing I needed to do, nowhere I needed to be. The pressure was off, believe it or not. It was the fabled freedom absolute that can never last.

I miss someone loving me. I miss someone holding me. I miss that easy relationship. I am sad, and in desperate need of a sounding board or a partner in crime. To be frank saving me might well have killed me a little bit inside. This can never last. This can never ever last.

But for now, here it is, in all it’s domestic heaven, it’s haven from care. It’s perfect privacy. It’s glorious mundanity. I love it dearly. I adore how and where and the bones of life here in the apartment. I can even accept trying to work out who i am without Billy, without booze, without drugs. I just don’t think I can keep this going.

Oh well…C’est ma vie!


  1. Robert Schafer

    Janis was right in many ways, or rather Kris was right! Freedom IS having nothing else to lose. I am almost in that state of freedom myself, unfortunately. As bad as having nothing is, accumulating even the barest of necessities can be terrifying with the worry of how will you keep it!

    Hope the freedom of having nothing can pass into keeping what you’ve got WITHOUT all the stress that can come with it. People can be remarkably resiliant in keeping what they truly need without sacrificing peace of mind. Hope you can find that balance!

    1. The Paltry Sum: Detroit Richards

      After over five years outside homeless, then ten months in a shelter, and now three months inside I am reeling. At the time being outside with children was highly stressful, except from when it wasn’t…and it was actually a case of, like you say, freedom. You absolutely nail it. Having a bed and a sofa, a tv and a table is scary because I do not see how I can keep this luxury going. I am frightened. I suppose I would have found it easier if my oldest friend hadn’t died suddenly a couple of months ago. It really sent me spinning. Really nice to meet you , Robert. Thank you for ‘getting it’. I hope you are doing well this evening, and am so sorry to hear you are having problems.

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