Where am I?
This is disgusting! The smell is unbearable! Smells like a mixture of onions, feces and sweat. Did that women just bark at me? I am scared! They are looking at me like I am an intruder. OMG! Sir, Are you okay? Wait, let us help you? (After picking up this old man, his belongings and buggy off the ground)
The old man says “Thank You!” Shyly…I said, “Your Welcome, Where are we?” He said, “Well darling, this is America! We are standing in the middle of skid row.” I said, “Wait What? This doesn’t look like freedom, paradise and security. Isn’t that what we fought and won wars for? How did you end up here?” He said, “Ma’am” (Looking at me with his shallow eyes)
“My name is Paul and I am 68 years old. I have been living on these streets for 15 years. When I was a young man in high school I was only concerned about helping my parents with the family farm and completing my education. One day, a man dressed in his Army uniform approached me and said, “Does your future look as exciting as ours? Join us and be all you can be. Are you thinking about college? We will pay? Are you thinking about having a family of your own? Well we will take care of you and your family. Join us and we will make you a hero!”
Paul ended his conversation with us by saying, “I was young and naive. Soon after I joined the army we went and fought in Vietnam. Arriving back to America I expected warm welcoming, open arms and encouragement. Instead I was spit at, called a baby killer and psycho. I spent most of my time hiding out and drinking. I never married and I only worked at low paying jobs. I went into great depression and before I knew it I ended up here.” It started to get dark out and he told us to leave. It wasn’t safe for us to stay any longer. As I walked away from Skid Row I couldn’t believe Paul who fought for my freedom is trapped within a mind state of trauma from war and drinks himself to sleep. I will go to bed tonight in my safe secure home on my comfy warm bed. This makes no sense!