Lucky Nov 22, 2007
“The coldest winter I ever spent was July in San Francisco”- Mark Twain
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I think that when mark twain produced this quote it had a double meaning for him, I know it does for me. As the trees shed their foliage and stand bare in neat rows I look at the town that I live in, I look at the people, working, talking, doing drug deals, living and dying…slowly and some not so slowly. These people, like the trees, sometimes I see waste away in the brutal winter that is in its essence San Francisco.
I ended up in San Francisco as a fluke, or perhaps fate brought me to this city, and these people. But either way I'm here and I’m tied to this town, while my family left the west coast I was still on a methadone maintenance slot and doing yard work to pay for it, I was off of dope, but still living dollar to dollar, dose to dose, day to day. The tension between my father and I was building because I had chosen to remain on methadone. The life that he had tried to build in the suburban city of Pacifica, ten minutes from San Francisco, was crumbling to pieces; his last project of growing marijuana had failed miserably. One by one, the family cars started breaking down. There was no food in the house and we were all sad watching my dad’s dream of living near the ocean start to fade soon after he tasted the salty sea that he called his neighbor.
I was soon kicked out of the house; my family who I loved to no end could no longer support me no matter how hard I tried to make it a light job. And in my heart, I knew that my brother and sister deserved the attention that I had robbed from them when my parents were so preoccupied with my mental problems and my drug addiction.
The only place I could think to go was the city that I went to every day to take my preventative drug methadone, I wandered the streets the first night not knowing anything about the town but where my clinic was. That is when I met a guardian angel in the form of a beautiful and wealthy college girl from Berkley. I had passed hundreds of people on that warm, lonely, San Francisco night without talking to anyone. Suddenly I had the urge to ask her something. So, I asked her where I might find a shelter. She immediately took me under her wing, handed me a twenty and invited me to come with her to meet some friends and get some food and she would find a friend who would let me spend the night at their house. It was a beautiful night and I slept in the avenues on a futon in a beautiful Victorian that San Francisco is so famous for.
That night I became a resident of San Francisco and joined the thousands of other homeless San Franciscans. On the good side of the situation my methadone became free, and I was directed to Larkin youth shelter, where I lived unbeknownst to me down the hall from my future husband and partner who I would go on to walk hundreds of miles with through the coldest city I had ever been in. We found an organization that we convinced to house us for free. We took our free methadone and our free prescriptions of klonopin; we came home and fell asleep intertwined with our lips touching even while we dreamed.
It was a hard blow when my biological family decided to go back to the Midwest, to the town I was born in and my father before me was born in.
By then, I had developed an addiction to the klonopin that I had been indulging in, and to follow them would mean to go through two tough withdrawals. I still want to come back to my family with my new husband and warm back up and soften up in a town that’s not so cold. But today I still live in the city that is cold even when the weather is beautiful, I have been beaten up twice, raped once, smoked crack continuously for two months, quit, got off of klonopin, then back on again. Now I am slowly withdrawing every day a little more. The pain is constant as well as the pain of being hundreds of miles away from the mother who carried me within her, and the father who had lost his dream. My dream is still alive, to be together as a family again. Now I wrap my arms around the web of friends I have made, friends who know how cold it is, who huddle together with warmth with me, where will I be tomorrow? One day further into my future. I hope that the puzzle of my life comes together soon.
But for now
My story keeps going.
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