Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Flash fiction--Homeless Woman's Peeing Spot--by Kyi May Kaung
Winter must have been very bad, for when she emerged sitting on the Marriot Building steps, she had a 3 inch beard, split at her chin and was cursing the drivers passing by in their cars.
Then about 3 weeks or so ago, I saw her thin back again, bare as she wears only a sweater across her breasts tied at the back.
But she said the first few words that made sense--"Two dollars for the bus" I gave her four that I had in my wallet, but I was disturbed that there were so many well heeled people walking by who ignored her.
When I looked down from the windows of the Quince where I had lunch, she was in the middle of the street again swearing at the cars.
But the other day (last week?) I was in The Bread Place using my X'mas gift card to eat a lobster sandwich, when she and a man with frowzy hair came in.
She sat him down, clutched his shoulder in its brown T shirt, and said, "This is my companion."
Then she went to the counter and got something. Then she came back to the table where her companion was and she asked him, "Do you have a dime?"
"A dime?" he asked back.
At this point I had finished my sandwich except for the hard crust, and slurped up all my lemonade, so I decided to leave.
I made a pass around the park to check the Siberian iris. When I came down the steps, she was already in her usual place on the grass.
She still has about her the air of the once very pretty society belle of the ball.
As TS Eliot once wrote, "The roses had the look of roses that are looked at."
The man went off to the back of the row of about 6 benches, where last summer I used to see a pile of blankets at night.
As I came up, she went to the 2 trash bins, with her right arm out, as if about to throw something away.
Then suddenly she disappeared.
Where did she go? I thought.
As I came round the corner, I saw her squatting behind the trash bins, peeing.
I could see her genitals and pubic hair.
(some people say "pocket book" and "beaver")
I wondered what they do about toilet paper and going number two.
I have to buy some toilet paper.
Funny lady on the trip had an excellent toilet paper joke.
The homeless woman, come to think of it, I do not even know her name, has skin that sags now with all the years of rough living.
It looks like she has not had a bath or shower for a long time. Somehow I never notice what she wears below the waist.
But last night when I got back from the supermart at 9 PM, and it was so warm, about 83 degrees F, I thought, it is so warm, one could sleep outside, but maybe it would not be safe.
I have seldom seen her in the park after dark.
I guess she lives in a shelter.
I wish whatever they gave her, that has made her better, she got it years earlier.
She reminds me of the crazy woman in my novel Wolf who went mad as her home and business was burned in 1967 during the anti-Chinese riots.
This character, Ma Hinzi, needed a D and C.
I made her up from fragments my friends told me.
Near this peeing spot, the roses are Knockout roses and doing very well behind the iron bars.
They like the sun.
They don't bloom as much under the ash trees.
No wonder, I thought, those 2 trash bins look untidy, with some contents strewn about.
Her shopping bag, filled with small bits of white plastic sticking out like petals, is her signature bag.
When I see the bag, and the soiled old red coat, she is not far away.
Even a homeless person knows this is a good neighborhood.
Oh what a life.
There but for the grace of god go I.
Posted by Kyi May at 12:53 PM