The Shelter: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #5 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)


While we were healing from the last, dramatic episode of life, I was provided with a unique experience.
We volunteered at a homeless shelter.
That was an unforgettable experience.
Twice a week, month after month, we'd walk into a renovated bar named Messiah's Branch, and we'd do what we could to help the homeless in our city. It wasn't a fun job, there was a lot of work to be done, but it wasn't really a very difficult job either. Most of the work involved simple cleaning and cooking.

That said, one day I slipped past the large group of people at the shelter's door in a distracted frame of mind. Words were whispering through my head. 

Clare’s steps as she walked out into the midst of the great room were light and mincing, the sound of them quietly echoed throughout the entirely still crowd. She paused and studied the mosaic on the floor for a long moment before she turned to Seth and said, “I am the witness, may I have permission to speak?”

I wasn't sure what Clare was about to say, but I knew it would be good. All of me felt shaky with anticipation as I entered the shelter's kitchen and got to work making egg sandwiches for a hoard.
Clare talked and talked. The rest of my family and people I worked with were used to me being distracted with inward thoughts, so they didn't bother me. I sighed and smiled with satisfaction when Clare ended her testimony with the words: This is the word of my testimony. By the blood of the Lamb I am now free.
Atta, girl, Clare! 
That's still one of my very favorite scenes in all my books.
Suddenly, my reverie was interrupted by demands being yelled from the other room.
"We're out of tea! We need tea in here!"
I told Mom that I'd slip in there and do the job. 

In the main room of the shelter there was a big, projector screen. This was constantly playing old TV shows or newer movies, and functioned as crowd control for the rowdy, bored homeless people. 
The problem was, the room had to be dark for the system to work properly. And, apparently, the noise-infused dark, plus a tiny teenage girl refilling the tea pitcher, equaled an irresistible temptation for the biggest, nastiest guy in the shelter.
I was in the back of the room, at the tea and coffee counter, when I sensed him sneaking up behind me. I flipped around to face him with a glare, (usually enough to ward the perverts off,) but he kept coming at me.
That's when I made a mistake...  I froze up in fear. 
All I could do was look into his creepy, dark eyes. I couldn't move, I couldn't even breathe.
Thankfully, while I was getting trapped against the counter. One of the other homeless guys noticed what was happening. He was about my size, and in his fifties, but is still one of my favorite people in the world. 
He started shouting while protectively, defensively coming between me and the bad guy.
And I was able to slip into the kitchen unharmed, shaky, but unharmed.

From then on, my brother was the one to fill the tea pitcher.
And I stayed in the kitchen, especially while distracted with mentally writing my book.

Click here to read the next post in this series: Moving Home

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