I never thought this day would come.
I am now getting ready to move into my own place, after years of living on the streets, with nowhere to go, or nowhere to turn for help. It is a huge step for me.
Daunted by it? Perhaps, but it is a huge step in the right direction for me. It's been an answer to prayer. I couldn't have done it without the help from my caseworkers or caring individuals in the community who are focused on helping homeless people such as myself start a brand new life for themselves.
My name is Tigre'. Actually, that's not my real name. My real name is Octavio Rosales, but everyone calls me Tigre' because I like to fight (box), and people say that when I'm in the ring, I remind them of a tiger. So there you have it.
I am 40 years old. I ended up on the streets because of some poor decisions I'd made when I was a teenager. I ended up in different gangs, and mi parentes, they got tired of all the bullcrap, so they kicked me out, and I'd been on my own ever since, trying to fend for myself.
It was anything but easy: digging in trash bins or garbage cans for food. Trying to find some warm blankets or clothing when the weather got cold or nasty out. Trying to stay out of the rain or snow, sleeping underneath overpasses, and praying you didn't get shot at, robbed, or worse. Having well-to-do people scream obscenities at you, havin' them treat you like a pile of dogshit, like you weren't worth nothin'.
This was my life for the past thirty years; now after all this time of heartbreak, frustration, or embarrassment, I will finally have my own place. I will have a roof overhead, and I will probably have conveniences like an oven, a stove, a sink to wash my dishes in, flatware/kitchn accessories, a nice, warm bed to sleep in, four walls keeping me safe from the elements outside. Ahhh, such bliss! Who would have ever thought that this would be possible to a homeless bum like myself??
It probably won't be no mansion on the hill, but hey, any place to call home is better than livin' off the street. I consider it a huge blessing from God above, and I plan on doin' everything I can to make my life even better: looking for gainful employment. Takin' care of my own affairs and payin' off my bills once I start getting a regular paycheck. Hey, I might even go to school and start studyin' to become an auto mechanic, like my papa was before he retired.
Yeah, the world is my oyster, and I am there to claim it!
The only bad thing? Sayin' goodbye to the friends I made here at the shelter where I'd stayed for the past many years, friends like Medusa Jones, Charlie-The-Crazy, One-Armed Willy Peterson, Tagalong Mickey and his sidekick Too Tall Reyes, and Snaggle-Tooth Annie. Now they will be here while I settle in my own place; to think of leaving such a wonderful group of people causes tears to prick at my eyes. I am gonna miss them all so bad!
Medusa has been especially good to me. She's been almost like a big sister, and I just love her so much!
Well, I gotta run: my caseworker is here; we gotta go over the final plans and then hopefully I can start movin' into my own place before Christmas. Some Christmas this is gonna be for me: I, Tigre' Rosales, is gettin' his very own place for Christmas! What a big gift!! God is indeed the Miracle Worker people say He is! Yeah, life is gonna be really good for Tigre'!! :)
*To be continued.*