On Monday, I linked to a story I wrote for Article 25 called “The People on the Second Floor.” Part of the story was about Melissa, the daughter of the woman living right above me. After she, her mother and the people they were living with moved out—or were forced to move out—Melissa acted like she no longer knew who I was. Recently, that has changed.
Last week, I was heading into Walgreens to pick up a birthday card for my daughter. Passing the bus benches in front of the store, there was Melissa. If you’ll remember in the story, she makes her living on the street. Melissa is a prostitute.
All those weeks of pretending like she didn’t know me came to an end. Why, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I joined her on the bus bench.
I could tell she wasn’t herself. Melissa was talking a mile a minute jumping from one subject to another. I could tell she had a problem.
“I ain’t got no food, but I had enough money to get a pack of cigarettes,” she told me at one point. I was beginning to think Melissa was on something. It didn’t take long for her to confirm it.
Out of the blue, she said, “I’m addicted to crack cocaine. That’s my vice, gotta have it.”
She lit a cigarette and when she wasn’t jumping around to other topics, she told me more about it. She said she had to make $200 a day to support her habit. I think for Melissa, that’s a lot of men to be with in one day.
After spending a few minutes with her, Melissa jumped up to talk to another girl coming down the sidewalk. I suspect this girl is also a prostitute.
There’s not much I can do for Melissa except try and be her friend. She never asks a thing from me and I’m glad we’re talking again. The one thing I can do is listen.
I went into Walgreens to get that birthday card for my daughter. When looking through the cards, I thought of my daughter, then thought of Melissa.
Melissa’s mother lives with a black man, so that can’t be her father. I wonder where her father is and if he knows where his daughter is. Why has this happened to the both of them?
I know where my daughter is. While picking out that birthday card for her, I counted by blessings.
(Image from alcoholic.org)