Each night we laid in bed and listened to the sounds of gunfire and police sirens. I would hold Mia tight and pray that someday we would be in a better place. Chicago is my home, but we need to move. We’re not going to make it here. It’s not like it used to be. Everything changed the night Eric took everything from me.
It was my friend that suggested I apply for section 8 housing out-of-state. We all knew that it was more than a 10 year wait in Chicago. Wisconsin or Iowa. I met a friend on Facebook that was from Dubuque and she told me about the city and how her move from Chicago happened pretty easily. And so I went on the list. I was number 4,056.
Six month later I was number 1,743! I couldn’t believe it. “This is actually going to happen,” I thought. We’re going to have a new home; a new life. Mia and I started to pack. Soon we were number 148.
The owner of our building stopped one night and told me that he was selling the building. He told me I had to move out immediately. “But I’m number 148 in Dubuque,” I persisted. “We’re so close. Please let us stay until we get the phone call.”
The very next day we rented a U-Haul truck loaded with everything we owned and headed west. I’ve had it worse, I thought. I can make this work. I have to. My entire world is sitting in the passenger seat. Mia deserves better. She’s been through so much in nine years. The Asbergers, the ADHD, the Tourette Syndrome. She’s so strong though. “She’s my little monkey.”
It was a beautiful drive to Dubuque. As we drove over the Mississippi bridge my heart swelled with hope and confidence. Everything looked perfect. We’re going to make it. I just knew it.
A week has gone by and everything I was promised has disappeared. The apartment is not ready. We need to get the inspection done and section 8 needs to approve everything. We’re living in our car. I put all of our belonging into storage and we sleep in the car parked between the moving trucks near the storage units. The trucks give us a little protection from the world.
Seven days have passed and it’s getting harder to get by. I’ve called all of the local resources and we’ve been doing great for food by eating at the Rescue Mission and other churches. I only have $600 to my name outside of the SSI I get for Mia. I’ve got to make this work until we get into our apartment, I get Mia into school and I’m working again.
I can do this.
I withdrew $50 yesterday. We needed to shower and feel clean. It’s six bucks to get into the Flora pool. At least Mia can shower there and go swimming. I’m also on my period and I really need to get myself clean. My emotions are all over the place. I usually don’t cry this much. Everything is starting to come back to me.
How could Eric have done this to me?! We were friends. He raped me! I had a good job managing the storage units and cleaning houses. I had lots of friends and felt pretty good about myself. The depression got bad after what he did and I gained nearly 100 pounds. I’ve lost 50, but I still can’t shake the nightmares.
No one could believe that I kept the baby. Nine years later though and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I love my little monkey.
Sarahjayne and everyone at Hillcrest has been great. They’ve been helping me connect to resources and gave a me a number I should call. “I’m sorry Mariana, we just don’t have the resources to get you and Mia out of the car until you are in the apartment. But, give these guys a call.”
I lost the number she gave me. Days passed and I went into chat with Sarahjayne again. As I was leaving yesterday I asked for the number again.
Resources Unite? A volunteer center? Why would strangers help us? I’ve always been a giver. I’m not a taker. I’m the volunteer; the person that helps others. It’s so hard to ask for help.
But maybe someone can help or would just be willing to listen. We’re so alone.
I guess it can’t hurt to give them a call…