……

 
2 January 2013

The temperature at noon was 1 degree Fahrenheit with a 13 mph wind, making it feel like -17. Last night it went down to -5. The only person at ‘the heater’ was Magdalene.

She said, “Hi, Dennis, my boyfriend, Alphonse is in hospital.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, which hospital is he in.”

“He’s in the Montfort. He’s been there for a couple of days now. He has pneumonia. Also, he’s had paranoia. He thought he saw people standing around his bed, but there was nobody there. He thought they were trying to kill him. He ran outside. The police brought him back in. They said that if he stayed outside he would die. When he got back to his hospital bed they gave him a glass of whiskey, because he’s an alcoholic.”

“I said, “Irving is on a program at The Oaks. They give him a glass of wine every hour. Gradually he’ll be able to stop drinking altogether. He wants to get back to work moving furniture, but it’s hard for him while he’s an alcoholic.”

Magdalene said, “We’ve been sleeping outside lately. We are on a list to get an apartment, but nothing has happened.”

“Where, exactly, have you been sleeping?” I asked.

“On York street. If you go to the end, there is a little boutique there, turn left into the alley. There’s a place with a heater that blows down on you. We have a covering that goes around us.

“For a couple of days, he wasn’t able to eat. His face was getting very thin. That’s when he decided that he should go to the hospital.”

“Have you thought of staying at some place like the Mission?”

“After Alphonse gets out of the hospital, we may have to. I don’t like those places. They’re rough, noisy, crowded and stuff gets stolen there.”

I said, “Shakes told me that every time he sleeps at the Mission, Shepherd’s or the Salvation Army, things are stolen from him: his backpack, money, bottles, weed, even his clothes.”

“I’m going to see Alphonse at the hospital this afternoon, but first I have to go to Welfare to see if I can get my bus pass. Ambrose has a check waiting there but only he can sign for it. I’m going to talk to them and see if they can release it to me. I’m listed on all his forms. I don’t even have his phone number at the hospital.”

I asked, “When you visit your worker at Welfare, can she help you to get an apartment? She should be able to get the phone number for Alphonse at the hospital.”

“Maybe, I don’t know, they were looking for us, but we haven’t been back there for two weeks. Maybe they found someplace.

“Alphonse has an appointment with his probation officer, tomorrow morning at 8:30. He’s going to have to cancel. I don’t know the phone number, I hope he’s awake, so I can get the number from him.

“This morning I ate at McDonald’s. I didn’t think I had any money, but I found four dollars and twenty-five cents. I was so hungry.

“Next week I start at New Directions. They’re going to help me deal with my anger management issues. I want to stop fighting, especially with Alphonse.”

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