Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

INVISIBLE IN THE CITY
My day started at 5 a.m., when I caught the bus to the cash only clinic, hoping to get a new prescription for my insulin. The line started at 6, the clinic opened at 8, and the first 20 people were seen. Or so I was told. After two hours in line, it turns out that it wasn’t a clinic at all, but a place to apply for medical financial aid. I was given some forms and sent home to fill them out. After leaving the clinic, frustrated and disappointed, I headed to the pharmacy, to try and talk them into giving me one more refill (at the price of $120) until I could find an actual clinic and get a new prescription.
My usual battle ensued, they can’t sell it to me because my prescription ran out a couple of weeks ago. A 12 month prescription doesn’t mean I actually get to buy 12 bottles of insulin, it really means that at the end of 12 months I have to get a new prescription written. Angry and frustrated I headed back home to call my old doctor and ask him to clear one more bottle for me. My mental pity party had begun the moment I left the clinic, and I was on the verge of tears as I walked to Colfax and Broadway. Mainly I missed having somebody to complain to about my woes, and I was feeling pretty lonely and put upon when the woman on the street asked me for a quarter.
I dug in my pocket and produced 35 cents, which I handed her. She took the money from my hand and looked at me.
“Hey, I know you.” She said. I looked at her and she did, indeed, seem familiar.
“Yeah, you were looking for directions to Pearl Street, you were going to look for an apartment. Did you get it? What brings you back here?”
Then it hit me. About 8 months ago, when I was considering my move to Denver, I was here visiting and had gone in search of some apartments to get a feel for the area. On Colfax and Broadway the woman had asked me for a quarter, and I had given her one in exchange for directions to Pearl Street. I suddenly remembered her, but I was amazed that she would remember me. Especially after all this time and amidst all the people she sees every day.
I told her I had moved to the area, and she walked with me across the street and we talked. I told her about my bad day, and my woes in general. We talked about how I liked Denver and the injustices in the world. She walked with me up the street until I was halfway home, just listening to me rant.
“I’m sorry you’re having a rough day,” she said. “But you go get that insulin, and you take good care of yourself. I want to see you around here for a long time to come.”
She may be homeless, and she may be panhandling for money, but she remembered me. And at least I had the money to buy my insulin, and a roof over my head, and a way to support myself. Her name was Carol. And today I’m going to take her a Diet Pepsi.

SLUTWALK AND JESUS
I headed downtown to Civic Center Park, my main purpose to return my library books, and also to force myself to get off the couch, shower and get out. On Colfax I fell in step behind a group of three girls wearing mini-skirts and carrying signs. They were the shortest of skirts, and I couldn’t read their sign, so I naturally formed my own opinions about them as I followed them into the park. As we entered the park I noticed there were a lot of women, and even a few men, who were dressed over-the-top trampy. After closer scrutiny I realized they were not only in front of me, but behind me, filing into the park.
And then I read their sign. Slutwalk. Hmm. That would explain it. I was marching downtown right in the middle of a Slutwalk. People were gathered near the stage area of the park, and so I went with the flow and wandered over. I arrived just in time to hear everyone clapping, and stopped next to a large black woman on a Jazzie with a little girl on her lap.
“What’s this? What just happened? Why is everyone dressed like this?” she asked a passerby.
“It’s Slutwalk. Some cops somewhere told a group of young women that if they didn’t dress provocatively they wouldn’t get raped.”
“What?” The woman in the Jazzie was outraged. “Does he still have a job?”
Then I noticed a young man wearing a T-Shirt that said “this is me not raping the hot chick.” Another read “Real men understand no.”
As the friendly stranger continued to explain to the Jazzie lady, I was passed by a growing crowd headed through the park. I followed them. Partly because I was curious to see where they were marching too, and partly because I didn’t have anything better to do. So I marched along with them.
And then I went to church.
Actually it was the next day, and I was drawn in by the air conditioned environment and the ice cream. And maybe the men. Each Saturday I pass the church, which years ago was some kind of temple. It stands like a palace on the corner of my street, and I was curious to see the inside.
So I went in and sat down. It’s what’s called a Four-Square church, which I’m not exactly sure what that meant, but everyone was wearing jeans, shorts and flip-flops so didn’t feel too uncomfortable as I took a seat with my cup of complimentary coffee. As I sat watching the crowd, a young woman dressed in short-shorts, halter top and wedge sandals walked nervously down the aisle and stopped just in front of me. She was looking around the room, and, I’m not gonna lie, my initial assessment was that she shouldn’t be wearing that outfit to church. And the word tramp may have briefly passed through my head.
But then I looked at her face. She was so young, and obviously nervous. She was not a tramp, she was a young woman who felt good about herself and was wearing the latest fashion. And she was in a church. I thought of Jessica, and when she went to South Africa and the school didn’t pick her up as scheduled. I thought of the kind couple on the plane who took her home with them and made sure she was safe.
“Are you looking for someone? Or are you looking for someplace to sit?” I asked her. She looked relieved to be talking to someone and not standing alone in the aisle.
“I’m looking for my friend, but I think she likes to sit in the front,” she said.
“You know if you sit in the front you’ll get called upon.” I said.
“Really?” she looked terrified.
“no, I’m just joking.”
She found her friends in the front row, and from what I gathered watching them the young girl must have just started dating one of the singers in the church band.

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July 14, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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