Thursday, April 15, 2004


I have been watching her cycle since our children began school. Her son is in the first grade, like my own daughter. They are in different classes. We met like many of the parents meet, at 2:20 pm , waiting for our children. We ended up at parent association meetings together and at local trainings to work in the school as volunteers. We even ran against each other once for a position within the parent's association.
I liked her because she was loud and didn't care. She was open. She sold me Avon. She was a single mother like me. She struggled with money and fought against the system weekly to get what she needed to provide for her son. One day she was even arrested her inside a local welfare office when she wouldn't keave until she was spoken to. The police didn't take her to jail. They took her to the psych ward of the local public hospital.

People talked about her behind her back. They said she talked too much. They said her son was a problem child. No one asked why. No one really listened to what she was talking so much about.

One day I found her outside of school crying. She said her live in boyfriend had threatened her and wouldn't leave the apartment. She wanted him out before her 6 year old came home from school. We had less than an hour. I urged her to call the police on her cell phone. She did and together we waited. It took the police almost 20 minutes to arrive. While we waited I watched her hide behind cars and tremble with fear everytime she thought he was coming out of the apartment. As I comforted her I learned that he was homeless when she met him and she took him in. He, like her ex-husband, is an alcoholic. By the time the police came he had slipped out. The next day at dismissal she had a black eye.

I urged her to get a restraining order, to call the police, to call me just to talk. She did call the police and they arrested him. She faithfully visited him every day.

Today she was crying again. Social workers want her son to live with her mother. The boyfriend is out of jail and living with her and her 6 year old son.

I told her to call me.

I don't know what else to say. I don't know what else to do.


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