I was initially excited when I got the phone call from my worker. Telling me, she’d found me a place to live, and that Children’s Aid would be paying the rent for up to three months. Excited, obviously, because I wouldn’t have to be scrounging for safe places to sleep anymore, and finally would have a lasting roof over my head. As for friends houses, I was running out of options. So, when I got the call, I sighed with relief as I put down the receiver. I’d seen the Y, lots of times before. Driving along the highway, that tall brown building, never missing the large white block letters. Y.M.C.A. It was across the street from my favorite museum. This beautiful castle type building, that kids used to be scared of, over the stories of it being haunted. I liked it anyways though, ’cause it was the one with all the taxidermy animals, and dinosaur fossils. In the future, I’ll grow very weary of living at the Y, and begin to loathe that museum. It will haunt me when I walk past it, laughing at me, reminding me, the safety of my childhood is far behind me. I hate when that happens. When memories taint things. Objects. Places you like. Even people you love. I still weird out a bit, when I take my son there. I get over it quick, just seeing how happy he is, but I still get the gut twist when I see it. Not to mention, I completely just by-pass and ignore that the Y even exists. I hurt even looking at it. A building.
I remember my worker taking me up the elevator and guiding me down the white walled hallway. The doors to the rooms were dark blue. When she gave me the key my room, I was choked at how small it was. Honestly, the size of a jail cell. The walls were block concrete. But, who was I to complain, I’m pretty sure I slept outside at least twice this week. She handed me a small plastic card, told me there would be eight dollars a day on it to buy lunch in the cafeteria downstairs. Then she left. I’m pretty sure she’d had enough of my shit at this point, and didn’t blame her for wanting to get out of here. I curled up on the single mattress and passed out for almost an entire day. It’s funny how your body can keep you up for days, and then all of sudden, when it’s safe to sleep, your gone.
My first week there, I did my best to stay out as much as possible. My tiny little room made me anxious and pent up. Since I didn’t own much, the walls were bare and I had no t.v to keep me distracted, making my room feel more like a jail cell then it already looked. I spent a lot of time as far away from the Y as I could, which looking back, was the best thing. I should have stayed away longer. It’s not a building that creates the bad memories, it’s the people, the whack ass, dysfunctional situations you get into, when you surround yourself with people in the same situation you’re in. A bad one. When you involve yourself so deeply with a group of people that they become family to you. As this family, instead of getting better and working towards a more sustainable future, you choose to all get lost together. Creating a shit storm none of you can stop. That is exactly what happened.