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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Reason # 847 Why Lois Is Somewhat Absent

If you have been paying attention to this blog and all of these sporadic posts, I thank you. To say the least life has been nonstop busy and insane for months. I’m feeling the need for a vacation, badly. The biggest and most odd news of all is that…

Before I mention anything, don’t get mad at me or freak out, like my mom and Mr. Lane did initially.

Last week as I was running some errands, I saw a woman sitting on the shoulder of the road. I was driving in the opposite direction, but I’d slowed down enough to see dozens of other drivers pass her by. With her knees curled up to her chest and her arms wrapped snuggly around them, I could clearly see she was cold. She had duffle bags but no coat and it was dropping below 40 degrees. I couldn’t not stop.

I turned my car around and approached her. There was something not right about her, but not in a scary way. She hopped into my car and we headed in the direction she pointed. She smelled like your run-of-the-mill homeless person, minus the odor of booze oozing from her pours. As the miles rolled on and time ticked away, I tried to find out as much as I could about her. She talked around straight answers like a politician. Still, I didn’t feel threatened or scared. There was a reason why I spotted her, why I couldn’t keep driving away, why she was on the side of the road alone, and why she was now sitting in my car.

You never really know what the lesson of something is until the unfolding of the plan has finished. Even then, you may not find out. But without a doubt, I believe everything is meant to be.

We drove around for three and a half hours. She tried to locate old friends from her past. The past she wouldn’t share with me. I took her to a gas station to get a soda and a phone book. She looked up number after number. She made several calls from the payphone. She refused to use my cell, or take change I had in the car to make those calls. None of the people were home and she wasted her remaining cents on those unanswered calls.

I asked her what she wanted to do. I asked where she wanted to go. She had no answers. She looked so sad. Not just sad, lost in a way. There was something childlike about her.

Finally she asked, “Are there any homeless shelters around here?”

My heart was so torn. Could I leave this vulnerable woman behind? I started thinking about my kids and old man. If my judgment was off, and I brought her home, really bad things could happen. I turned off my heart and followed my head. I looked through the phonebook for shelters and found four within an hour of where we were. I called each and got no answer, except at one. The message on that machine said, “Closed for the season.”

My head said, “What the fuck?! People aren’t homeless in September?! Is this like wearing white shoes after Labor Day? Now what?”

Mr. Lane called my cell asking where I’d been. I tiptoed around a real answer and asked him if he would pick the kids up from school, since I didn’t know if I’d make it back into town in time. He sounded like he was mad. I kindly reminded him that the children were ours, not mine. He shut up and did what I asked.

When I hung up, I felt compelled to take a picture of her with my camera phone. Thankfully, she didn’t notice what I was doing. I asked if she wanted to go to the police department because they would make sure she got to a safe shelter. She was dead set against that. I really began to wonder if she was wanted by the law. I wanted to know what her real story was. I wasn’t getting any answers.

I drove to the remaining three shelters that didn’t answer their phones. All of which were closed.

My heart stepped on my head and my mouth blurted, “I have a couch at home that you could sleep on if you want.” I also mentioned that I couldn’t leave her on the side of the road.

On the way back to my house, I stopped by my friend’s house. He is a detective, which was information I didn’t tell her. I just told her that I needed to run in and talk to him for a minute. And then I asked her to hand me her empty soda bottle for me to “throw away”. I gave him the bottle so he could lift prints from it and do a search to make sure she wasn’t wanted by the law. I also forwarded her picture to his e-mail.

I got back in the car and we headed home.

Stay tuned for part two. Coming soon to a blog near you.