The True Story Of a Homeless Woman

Her name is Shavon, she is 30 years old, a high school graduate, and homeless. She appears to be healthy although she demonstrated a minor cough during the night that she stayed at my home. I met her as I meet all homeless people; sharing information about my company and what we hope to achieve for the people of the world.

She listened intently and smiled the most beautiful smile I have seen in a long time. She remarked that she really liked my rings, stating to me that she had had to pawn hers just for money to eat. Eventually, I left her on the park bench with her light blue blanket, wool scarf, and light gray coat and made my way home to continue to work on starting my business.

However, this young lady started to haunt my mind and about one hour later I decided to return to the park bench to see if I could persuade her to come stay at my home, reasoning that a woman alone on a cold park bench could suffer rape or any other malady.

At first I didn't see her but asked a couple if they had seen a lady with a light blue blanket in the park to which they exclaimed, "Yes," and pointed her out to me.

By this time she had retired for the night. Her head was totally covered with the blanket so nobody would know it was a woman except for the fact that her shoes were left unattended on the pavement, clearly demonstrating that it was a woman, not a man.


I said, "Shavon." She awoke and looked at me strangely as if to say, "What are you doing here?"

I said, "I cannot get you out of my mind" and stated that the streets are no place for a woman. I shared with her that I feel that it's bad enough that a man has to be subjected to the streets but that for a woman, it's a tragedy.

Finally, she agreed to accompany me home. Walking down Madison Avenue toward 23rd Street, I shared with her the fact that I too, had tried to apply for welfare but just couldn't go through with it. It was too demoralizing and depressing. I shared with her that after I had left the welfare office in California, I had seen my ex-husband but that he would not recognize me any longer.

She shared that her case had been closed because she didn't provide the information welfare needed soon enough and she tore up her medicaid card and left it at the welfare office. She shared with me the fact that she had worked but is not working now. She wants to obtain a job but doesn't have any identification whatsoever.

At last, we arrived at my house. We walked because I have little money now and she indicated that it was not embarrassing to her to be seen carrying the large bag with the blanket in it.

When we arrived in my co-op I told her that she was free to take a shower and she did. I thought she would never get out of the shower, but finally she did and fell asleep on my sofa so fast that I was amazed.

During the night, I awoke and started thinking about this situation in which I found myself. Here was a young woman, overweight, and extremely appreciative of all I was doing for her who didn't expect or ask anything from me except a pair of old gloves. Suddenly, it occurred to me that she could help me.

Very short of money right now, I reasoned that she could assist me because she isn't working at all. I thought that she could become a research assistant as I had been in college. I knew that she could act in my behalf at the welfare office and told her so.

While I was thinking all these thoughts, she started to cough. It wasn't a bad cough but it occurred to me tht if she were out in the cold, the cough could easily become more serious.

In the morning I determined that I would inform Shavon that I would like to have her do research for me and other things around the house. I told her that I thought she would enjoy being my research assistant as that is a rather prestigious occupation. I reasoned that since she had graduated from high school that she would be qualified for that occupation.

I told her that many students do not graduate from high school and that I felt that since she did, she was more fortunate than many are. She insisted that she was not a good student. I stated that it really is not her fault as she is a victim of what is known as institutionalized racism.

I told her that I would teach her everything I know and she listened attentively, but when it came time for her to help herself, she consistently prevented me from continuing the conversation.

As it happened, that Sunday morning, I was due to attend a Meditation training at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in Lower Manhattan and asked Shavon to please stay in my apartment until I returned home. Further, I asked her to read the book which has changed my life, theorizing that it would greatly help her to change hers.

She had mentioned that she was not in a good relationship with her mother and sisters and that she doesn't care to speak with them at all. I told her that this situation was familiar to me as well as I hadn't associated with my parents for seven years. I told her that only recently, had my relationship vastly improved with my parents and that it was because of Dr. Susan Forward's book.

The book is called Toxic Parents. When I left my apartment, she had started to read it.

About 1:00 PM I returned home only to find Shavon sitting in the lobby of my builing. Inquiring as to how long she had been sitting there and the reason, she stated that she had locked herself out while taking out my garbage. She had waited for me to return since 10:00 AM as she didn't have any keys to my home and the super wouldn't let her in. My super was only following my instructions.

Once we ascended the elevator, she began to pack her things and was attempting to leave. I pleaded with her to stay, telling her that I really needed her and could really help her as well.

As I needed to go to my daughter's apartment to feed her cat, I followed Shavon out of my building. Still pleading with her to remain with me in my tiny apartment, she said something to me which was so incrdible that I hardly could comprehend what she said.

She said, "I was born in the street and I will die in the street." She spun around on her heals and walked as fast as she could up Third Avenue. I followed as fast as I could watching her gain on me, finally giving up and waiting for the Third Avenue bus to take me to the Upper East Side where my daughter lived.

I remarked to a lovely woman who stood on the bus just what had happened. She stated to me that I need to be very careful with strangers in my home. I listened to her but felt a certain confidence in Shavon.

I knew that I had not remembered to wear the two very valuable rings that I normally wear when going out as that morning when I left for the meditation training, I was running behind due to the fact that I was trying to persuade Shavon to stay in my home permanently and she was resisting my suggestion.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that the reason that she left so abruptly could have been because she wanted to pawn my rings. Walking as fast as I could after leaving my daughter's apartment, I took the train home to see if my rings were still were I keep them.

What do you think I found? My rings were still there. They were in plain sight of where Shavon had slept and sat while I ate breakfast. This young woman is so trustworthy that she will work for me if I can find her. Shavon, where are you?



TRUE DEMOCRACY   - WINTER 2001 - page 61
Copyright © 2001 by News Sourse, Inc.