Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I always had a hunch...

"Excuse me ... can you remind me how to spell "première""?
The pretty woman who had been fervently writing at the table next to mine tells me with a laugh that she is having a bout of spelling block.
The setting is one of Seattle's great Capitol Hill coffee shops, the time is last night.
Within five minutes, she is sitting next to me and we are enjoying getting to know each other.
Two hours later, she has told me a whole bunch of the story of her life. The last decade anyway.
And by then, what had always been a hunch, now had a voice. And a face. 
Ten years ago, she was married and owned a successful fitness center.
Then one day, the building caught on fire. Barely a week after she had let her insurance lapse.
Pretty soon her marriage dissolved.
Pretty soon she had a near fatal car accident.
And pretty soon... she was homeless.
Ensued almost seven years of a life she never, ever knew existed: lining up at night to secure a place to sleep at a shelter. Being teased meanly for her nice clothes and fit body (she laughs a little bit and tells me that she looked like "Barbie does Angeline's - the name of one of the shelters") and then, the big piece: how easy it had been to stay there.
I always had a hunch that the line was not so opaque. 

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