Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz

 

13 December 2013

This morning was painfully cold, minus fifteen degrees (five degrees Fahrenheit), and with the windchill, it felt like minus twenty-five (minus thirteen degrees F.). I had a scarf wrapped around my face, but the wind against my forehead was a searing burn, near to being unbearable. Seeing my friend from yesterday was a surprise.

“Hello, my friend. It’s a cold one isn’t it?”

“Hi, your name is Ghyslain, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“I have a hard time remembering names. Even people I’ve known for five years; I forget their names. Where did you sleep last night?

“I slept inside.”

“Were you at the Mission or the Salvation Army…”

“Salvation Army. It’s really dirty there.”

“Were you bothered by bed bugs?”

“I didn’t ask for a bed, they’re on the second floor. I just asked for a mat. I slept in the basement.”

“Are there no bed bugs in the mats?”

“I cleaned it with alcohol before I put my sleeping bag down.”

“Jacques used to bring bed bug spray with him, whenever he slept in any of the shelters.”

“Yeah, alcohol does the same.”

“Do the mats have plastic covers?”

“Yeah, I just took a rag, poured alcohol on it, and wiped the mat.”

“How long have you been on the streets? How many years?”

“Twenty. I started in 1995.”

“What was it that caused you to be on the streets?”

“I had an addiction problem since I was twenty-five. When you’re addicted you end up on the street. I used to live in Quebec, but I owe money there, so I moved here.”

“Do you get any pensions, or street allowance?”

“I get the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Rebate and some others. In January I’ll be getting Welfare. My worker has set up the papers for me.

“After twenty years on the street, they want to see you housed. She wants me to live at Hunt Club, but that’s too far. I need to be downtown.”

“Little Jake, Shakes, and I live in Cabbagetown. Shark and Irene used to live there. It takes us fifteen minutes to get downtown on the 501.”

“I gotta get out of this cold. Thanks, man. Maybe I’ll see you next week.” He packed his belongings into a duffel bag and headed off towards the coffee shop.

~~~

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
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They Call Me Red:
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Private Eye: Eugene Leftowicz
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Comments
  1. Authoress51 says:

    Did you change the title? Why?

    Like

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