Last week, I went by my friend’s house to drop off a pair of jeans she had asked me to shorten for her. I was just going to hand them over and head off, but she asked me in, and she hugged me tearfully and said,
“I was just thinking about you! Congratulation!!” I was confused.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It’s a year now since you left the shelter.” She said it excitedly, like she was in celebration. It took me a slow minute to register what she was talking about.
“Heck! It’s been almost a year!” I exclaimed, “It’ll be exactly a year next week” I added.
I had to slow down and take it all in – I was in a hurry, it was Friday, I had just gotten off work and was on an errands’ spree. Wanted to cover as many errands as possible so that I’d settle into a slow lazy weekend.
“It’s been a year!” I whispered, more to myself as the import of it hit me.
One year and almost 4 months ago, there was an incident that happened the day before, one of many, but the only one that resulted in the call I received from CPS, who received a call from my kid’s therapist, whom the kid had called to report the incident that had happened where we were living.
A part of me knew that call would come someday (The therapist had threatened to call CPS many times before…), I just didn’t expect it for this incident as there were others in the past few years…
The call was clear, cut and direct, I was ordered to pack up and to go (with the kid) to a specific address NOW! They also sent a police officer to come and take a report and wanted to know if I wanted to press charges. I didn’t.
I got a little bag, grabbed our passports, our meds, some underwear and pajamas and our toothbrushes and we walked out. 5 minutes in, I received another call from another officer wanting to know if we needed an officer to ensure we leave safely. I reassured him we were fine, there was only the kid and I at the time. The kid kept looking back, as if she was looking for someone.
“What are you doing? I asked her.
“Trying to be sure we are not being followed,” she responded. I rolled my eyes.
“Don’t be dramatic, nobody is following us.”
“You wouldn’t know, your eyes are on the road.” Fair point, I was driving.
“Settle down though, and try being discrete about it, you are making me nervous,” I said.
We got to the location, I told them we were sent over by CPS, and I gave them our names. They were expecting us. After a brief interview, they hand wrote an address on a piece of paper, told me how to get there and made us both turn off the location tracker on our phones before leaving them and that was our first day at the Shelter.
I was VERY impressed with how hidden it was. There was NO WAY, you’d know it was there. I actually thought I was lost because I didn’t see it until I stopped right in front of it.
The facility was homely and warm, and the staff were gentle and kind. They showed us our room and offered us food. It was a Sunday, they told us to get some sleep, that I will meet my case manager tomorrow and we’ll take it from there.
The kid was relaxed enough to fall asleep after eating. It was the first time in a very long time that I had seen her that relaxed, more impressively, it was also the first time in two years that she had gone to sleep and slept through the night without taking her sleeping pills. She hasn’t taken a pill since, till this very day. It’s amazing how the feeling of safety can change your biology in an instant!
We have come a long way…