Monday, September 7, 2009

There Was No Script: The Girl at MacDonald's

One day, I was in MacDonald's, joining a lineup. In front of me was this young woman, possibly in her late teens, early 20's. She wore a tank and jeans. Her expression was totally spaced out. She had a twonie in her hand.

She asked the woman in front of her, "do you have any change?" to which the answer was a negative.

She turned to me, asking the same question. I didn't have change either.

She went around me to ask people behind me the same thing. Then came back in front of me.

I asked, "what do you need it for?"

"I just want to get a burger, that's all."

"I'll get it for you," I said.

When we got to the counter, she ordered a cheeseburger, a large fries, large drink, and a McFlurry. I ordered a medium fries and a second cheeseburger. I paid, and we sat down together. She ate intently, still completely spaced out. I asked where she was from, she said, "Bridgewater," a town which is an hour or two's drive from Halifax.

How'd she get in? With a friend.

What happened to whoever drove her in? She shrugged.

Where's she going to now? She didn't know. Try calling some friends.

Did her parents know she was here? No answer.

She wasn't forthcoming with answers. She didn't ask for anything else. I finished my fries and gave the other cheeseburger to her, on the off-chance that she would save it for later in case shit didn't turn out right and she was stuck hungry again. She didn't thank me or anything. She was still spaced out.

I didn't know what to do. I wanted to invite her back to my place but I still had some volunteer commitments, and besides which, in what is classist of me, I didn't feel I could trust her with my stuff, and a part of me was a bit mad she wasn't more gracious. I wanted to give her some numbers to places she could find shelter at, but I don't know any. I couldn't even give her some cash to tide her over.

I left feeling hideously guilty.

3 comments:

  1. Hello, I don't know if I understand all, english is not my first language. I don't want to be rude, but I have a question : why didn't you get her in a commissionership ("commissariat" in french)?

    It's good to feed her, this is nice, I think. So don't blâme yourself. It's hard "to save" someone. You do what's you can do. Food is really important for homeless or "lost" people. So, it's nice.

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  2. Hi there =)

    I did not take her any such place because I didn't know of any place which would provide such services. If I did, I would have told her where she could go. I guess I'm just out of touch like that.

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  3. Ah ok, thank you for answering me. It's a hard situation, I understand you and I hope you feel better with time.

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