i've just finished a semester of 20 credit-hours plus two eight hour work-days a week. i've wrecked my GTI and my thousands in savings have been spent covering rent, food, etc... for shiftless housemates. i'm working as many hours as possible in preparation for january rent and the electric bill. the energy company is two weeks from shutting us down.
rent and electric get paid. money is tight. kashmir's car is repossessed. dad buys me a toyota corolla, without which i would be royally fucked. the car becomes my lifeblood. i leave the job in DC to tutor on campus. i make less than ten hours a week. i'm taking fewer credit-hours but doing an unpaid internship at the local high school for four and a half hours a week. will is [finally] working full time. josh and kashmir are unemployed. the refridgerator begins to growl. i make friends with some neighbors. travis and kelly live down the block, with haley and kayla, their two daughters, and diablo, their baby pit bull. travis and kelly are ex-heroin addicts. a church helped them get an apartment and get in a methadone clinic. travis works for the church in exchange. they are on food stamps. they send me home with arms buckling from the weight of the groceries. the four housemates feast. there's even a bone for riley (will and kashmir's pit bull).
i get a second job. i am constantly busy. at some point, travis has a falling out with the church. the details are still sketchy to me. travis and kelly get a trespassing notice. it is not signed by a magistrate, but by the preacher. they laugh it off. they tell me about it the next day. i'm there when the police come and handcuff them in front of their children. i get another neighbor, a friend of theirs, to watch the kids. i walk the dog, then go home to do homework. travis and kelly have my number. they call the next day. it's a cold february. too cold for two little girls to be stuck homeless. we offer them our living room.
the kids are awesome. we all love them. travis is fun to talk with, and street-wise. i learn a little bit of hustle from him. i learn to keep my eyes on the dumpsters; one man's trash is another's treasure. kelly is my confidante. we bitch about kashmir together. it makes me feel justified for hating her. kelly feeds me information about the stupid things kashmir does when i'm not around (which is often; i'm rarely home). kelly has a knack for saying the right things to please people. but kelly is worried that we'll kick them out. i keep reassuring her that we'll give them time to get back on their feet. they keep the fridge full, and it helps. life at home is chaotic. i fall behind on my schoolwork. kelly tells us about a friend of theirs who owns two tattoo shops. he's giving them a loan, a sizable sum. she's going to surpise travis with the money. she's going to buy him a car, and they're getting a place of their own. she's going to give us money to pay for bills, plus a little extra. and can she borrow twenty dollars for the methadone clinic? kelly has me drop my car off at her cousin's shop. she's paid him to fix it up and get it in top shape. he's doing it on the side, so he can only work on it when there are no other cars needing work. two weeks later, i get tired of waiting for my own car. i swing by the shop. nothing is different. i speak with her cousin. i do not mention the money, i act like i know nothing. he says that he told her everything wrong with the car, he is waiting on the "go" from me. i ask him "how much." he quotes me a price; he obviously was not paid. i stop believing kelly. i confront her. she gets dramatic. we fight. it gets nasty. i tell travis everything the next day. that night, kelly comes to me with a black eye. she blames me. i walk away from the conversation feeling like a major asshole. what a sucker.
...to be continued...