My roommate called. Someone she knew was going to sleep in a public building on campus tonight because she couldn’t get into her dorm until tomorrow. Could she sleep on our couch?
“No” was the easy answer. When the call came in, I was only 30 minutes from bedtime with an early alarm in the morning. The pantry was bare; we had no food to offer her. The living room is the closest thing we have to hallway. If I didn’t accidentally wake her up, the cat definitely would. Besides, I didn’t know her. I wouldn’t sleep well knowing there was a homeless stranger on the couch.
“Absolutely. I’d rather she sleep here than in the unlocked building,” my voice said. My heart believed it.
“No” was never an option.
Other than tiptoeing around her to get ready in the morning, I never saw her. She showed up after I was asleep. I left while she was still catching zzzzs. I don’t even remember her name.
I do remember my roommate saying in the morning, they sat and chatted for an hour.
The homeless stranger who slept on my couch has some life experiences that are not ok. Her life story crosses beyond “unfair” and into “horrifying.”
And she’s just learning to verbalize these atrocities.
She and my sweet roommate had private, uninterrupted time for her to orally process and heal. She told stories she’d never been brave enough to tell.
That’s the kind of home I want: one where homeless strangers are comfortable enough to open up and share parts of their life that they’ve never voiced.
I want to say “Yes” all over again.
The comfortable, easy choice is not an option.
What are you looking for?