A/N: I wrote this as an assignment for Religion - a social justice issue. I chose homelessness in women, and this is the story i came up with. I know it's short but thats just the way it goes...i hope you enjoy. the title wouldn't fit in the box...so i put it below...


Do You See the World as It Is or Do You Choose to Ignore It?

Forgotten; her stomach empty, her mind blank, she sits in the doorway. Alone, separated, unwanted; she would give anything for something to eat, some warmth, or something better than what she has, but she has nothing to give. She is alone.

People's eyes drift from the window one side of her to the shop on the other. They won't see that she needs more than to be ignored, because they won't see her. But she sees them, watching from a distance, their eyes drifting to the tram opposite her as they pass, not willing to make eye contact in case poverty is contagious.

She recognises some of them from their daily commute past her, but they go about their day, not pausing for a moment as she slowly dies on the roadside. Some of them smile, occasionally dropping loose coins, but never stopping. She collects the change; stores it in a pocket close to her heart; a small collection of five cent pieces and foreign coins. It's never enough for more than a small bag of chips from the corner store, but she savours every mouthful of food she has, not knowing how long before she finds the strength to find food again. They smile as they drop their coins – she's their good deed for the week.

She doesn't complain, she doesn't beg, she just sits in the doorframe, counting down the days until she's safe again. She shivers into the wind, but is sheltered from the pouring rain and blazing sun. She raids the St Vinnies bin every now and then, searching for something more to wear, to protect her from the cold. Normally though, she just sits watching the world go by, lost in reverie.

They don't ask questions, they just hurry on by. They don't know why she's out on the street, assume it's her own fault and leave it at that. They don't know the hurt – the aching emptiness – of her past; the pain of the blows dealt to her someone she loved, the thousands of tears she cried, her constant unheard cry for help. They don't know the joy she felt that night, that unbridled scent freedom that she inhaled when she ran away from the place. Getting away was the first thing on her mind, and where she ended up was only meant to be temporary. The streets became her home, and once again she knew what it was like to be uncared for.

There are others, all the same. Male, female, young, old, black, white, English speaking and foreign – they're all there. A young family around the corner gave her a blanket they had spare, though the children were still unaccustomed to living out on the streets. She shared a roll with an adolescent runaway girl, to young to be out of school, a baby on her hip. She watched a couple try to warm themselves under a singe blanket. Every one with a different story but every one with a single goal – get somewhere better. Until then, they're stuck in limbo, hoping for a bed in the shelter but usually out on the streets.

No-one knows her name; to them she's just another face on the street, just another statistic. Another lost soul, another homeless wreck, another forgotten woman. Every day she sits in the doorway, every day is the same. People hurry by, not seeing her there, or choosing not to. Until she finds her way out, she'll sit there. Until then, she's counting down until forever.