Welcome Stranger: I Missed You Eugene!!

This morning during the maniac’s hours when I went to get my coffee to make the golden elixir, I had a huge surprise. My homeless friend Eugene, who I have written about a lot in the past was waiting for me at the store. It has been months since I have seen him, and although I have tried to reach him he has not had a phone.

I walked up to the store with Julia Bleu and there he was, just sitting on the ledge. I ran over to him and gave him a big hug, although I am not sure we had ever hugged before. I peppered him with questions but only heard, “I just got to Dover today after close to three months away.”

We rushed into the store and I told him to get whatever he needed, and I went about the task of holding Julia Bleu on her leash, and trying to make my perfect cup of coffee. Finally, we met at the register, and it appeared Eugene hadn’t eaten in a while. There was a ton of stuff. Way more than usual.

We walked out and he assumed he was coming over, as he knew me to be with Stephanie, and we felt very safe having him over. I had to tell him she wasn’t there and well we both felt bad about that, I was also unsure of having Eugene over without her, but I went with it.

We walked backed to my place and he was visibly upset that Stephanie and I were trying to figure ourselves out. I agreed and I really missed her this morning for a number of complicated reasons.

I told Eugene to talk about something else, so he started telling me about where he had been for the past couple of months.

We got to the house, and I turned on the lights in the kitchen and we sat at the table. Eugene had gotten some canned pasta and I offered to heat it up for him. All the while I was thinking about the last visit when Stephanie and I were still getting engaged and I felt really shitty. I knew I needed to reach out to her and call her today and have a heart to heart with her.

Eugene and I caught up and he told me he had tried to go visit his daughter but the trip was not all that great, and he was rather sullen about it. I ask what happened to the phone I bought him to stay in touch with her and he told me she sadly threw it in the trash. Anger from one’s childhood can run deep even as they turn into adults.

I told him I would buy him another phone, but he was adamant that he didn’t want another phone. He pretty much nixed the conversation regarding her and so we didn’t talk about Stephanie per me, or his daughter per him.

I fixed him up his food, and we sat in silence for a little bit where the poor guy was so happy to get some food into his system. I can’t imagine being homeless and hungry and it isn’t something I can relate to and seems so far from my life, but Eugene is right there in my life so his lived pain is my reality to a certain extent.

After Eugene finished the pasta, he was still hungry so we walked back up to the store and bought 3 more cans of pasta and another couple of drinks. We rushed home to my place and heated up the pasta for him, which he thoroughly enjoyed even this second time around. He talked about moving to Florida for the winter months.

I looked at Eugene, sitting at my table, I realized he was a lot more happy being on the outside where he was free than on the inside where he was nothing but a guest. Homelessness for me is about finding a place for everyone out of the weather, but for Eugene he doesn’t see the inside as secure and safe, he sees his preferred places outside as his places of safety.

Homelessness is definitely seen by someone like myself as fixable and avoidable, when the homeless people themselves don’t want to be saved or fixed, or removed from their spots outside. I want to quickly buy Eugene a new phone and get him down to Cross Roads the homeless shelter, and get him on the permanent list at Cross Road’s to hopefully get a place for Eugene out of the elements on a consistent manner for staying warm and out of the winter elements. Eugene might be open for that but it isn’t as simple or without complication on his part or the part of the agency. I see why he wants to move to Florida, and I see the changes in his personality now with his daughter being out of his life.

I am sad that he is not talking to his daughter, and that she will not have anything to do with him going forward. It isn’t crushing to him like I expected, it is more likely he is defensive and accepts her position without a fight or injury.

I can not push the subject, but respect Eugene and his life enough to know he is entitled to his own place of safety with me, and with her as well. I take it that she might have been a little bit aggressive with Eugene, especially with the phone getting tossed out. I asked Eugene what his chances of going to Florida were and he said as much as he wanted to go, they were very low, as he didn’t have the funds to travel to Florida for starters and he didn’t know but a couple of people and they didn’t live near one another. I asked him if he would try to get a semi-permanent place at Cross Roads, and he said he would put in the application, but by this time of year it was pretty doubtful to say the least.

I think about my empty room upstairs, and about how even though I have it, it isn’t what Eugene wants, or he or I should be doing together with our limited friendship. It sure was easier when Stephanie was here, and boundaries made sense and he was more at a distance but we were very much in support of him. I need to call her today, and let her know Eugene was asking for her, and then talk about us so to speak. We are not fully worked out by any means, and I take responsibility for that as I didn’t do it correctly or communicate effectively to her. She is so gracious and will not fault me on it, but I am to blame and I am to fault.

With election day just two days away, I see the issue of homelessness as one of the important social issues of this election. I mean, if we don’t have basic needs like shelter and food covered, we are not in a good way to more forward with other issues of greater social importance like education, and welfare for working class families.

Eugene finished his pasta, and had a hard time polishing it away, when he informed me he needed to get going for the simple reason, he had been at my place long enough and just needed to go back to his world.

I asked him to make a plan to meet me at the store in a couple of days. He said what about Tuesday early morning, and I said fine that would work for me I am going to be up for election day. We said good bye and Eugene took his bags with him with stuff from the store, and heading out into the early morning and starting out walking away from the house towards the store.

I was left feeling off, not good about my dropping the ball with homelessness and Eugene and needing to make things right with Stephanie. I was very grateful Eugene was alright and he and I were back in contact. I looked forward to Tuesday morning and seeing Eugene at the store.

Next up, it’s day light savings time, and I need to speak to Stephanie about she and I.

Peace Out!

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

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