The child slept in back, the mother slept in front, sitting up

On my morning walk I passed a parked station wagon in a quiet side street, where a woman sat in the front seat wearing dark glasses; I noticed, in the back, someone sleeping curled up under a blanket; someone child sized, head hidden. The blanket was a child’s blanket, tucked very carefully. I realized the person in front was sleeping sitting up, wearing sunglasses to conceal that. Homeless.

Homeless children in America…something that haunts me. I think the people I saw today may be the woman and child I saw before, more than a year ago, in a parking lot, the woman sleeping in front, the small boy in back eating the worst kind of sweet cereal from the box with his hand, scooping up handfuls like eating Cracker Jacks; I’d seen her before at the park carrying wet clothes from the bathroom where I guess she was washing them out. Something about her  said, “Don’t you dare talk to me”.

I  almost called the cops the time in the parking lot and asked them to see if there was anything up, child endangerment wise.

But the thing is, it could end with the child being taken to foster care which could be WORSE. So I didn’t want to subject the kid to the system, especially as it is here in California now. So in the end I did nothing.

That car I saw today–decided to go  back, see if I could give her some money. But when I went back, they were gone. The moment to help had passed.


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