Her skin was dull and pale. She had dark circles under her eyes. Her hair was blond, or at least that's what she wanted people to think. It was dry, like straw. She's been staying with her friend for the last three months. After living on the street for four years, a friend found her and told her to "come home". She feels safer than she's felt in a long time. She tells me how comfortable she feels talking to me because I'm wearing jeans, not scrubs or a uniform.
"Where did you actually sleep when you were on the street", I asked. "Sometimes in a shelter. But mostly I'd just keep walking until I couldn't anymore and then I'd just lay down and go to sleep". I sold my body for four years. But I'm done now and I want to start taking care of myself". She pulled up her sleeves to show about 30 scars on each arm where a "trick" had burned her with a cigarette. She's been raped, held at gunpoint, and incarcerated for prostitution. She told me so many bad things happened to her while she was on the street and it's taken her three months to start sorting through some of it. I told her how proud she should be of herself, how it's never too late to start over. Never too late to start taking care of herself.
The homeless are so vulnerable. Women and children on the streets, especially so. So far, she is one of the lucky ones. She is off the streets for now.