It was scary, terrifying, knowing that I could not wake up from this nightmare I was having.
During the night, nature calls and I unwrap myself from the sleeping bag I am cocooned in. It is 39 degrees and raining. The bathroom is more than 100 yards away and I go as quickly as I can, ducking as many raindrops as I can. The bathroom is cold. I look in the first stall and the toilet has not been flushed in quite some time. The second has the remains of vomit around the rim. The last stall has no toilet paper but I know I can find some in the first two.
By the time I get back to my car, I am wet, cold and awake. I climb into my now freezing sleeping bag and reach for the keys. I stop myself though because I haven't the gas to spare to run the heat. The frost from my breath causing condensation on the window. I shiver until I fall asleep again.
Although the seat lays back to an almost reclining position, there is still no way to put my feet up in the front seat of a Vega. At least it's a roof over my head. When I wake each morning my feet are swollen to almost twice their size. I walk around a bit, barefoot for I can not slip my feet into my sneakers let alone tie them. When I am finally able to do so, I put my sneakers on over the socks I have been wearing for the last three days. I have been wearing the same clothes for five.
I get the free cup of coffee offered at the rest stop I have been sleeping at for the last several nights. I don't drink it. I just hold it. My hands can finally get warm. I eat one of the two cookies I got along with the coffee. The other I wrap carefully in a napkin to be eaten for lunch. I don't know what I'll do for dinner. I don't know if I'll have dinner.
I take the empty coffee cup into the bathroom with me. I use a dime sized dollop of shampoo from the samples they were giving away at the church food bank. I rinse my hair with the coffee cup since the sink is probably just as dirty as the floor.
I spend hours each day walking. I never know where I am going. I just walk. I hope that someone, somewhere will look at me. Anyone. But they don't. They never see me. I am invisible.
Reality sets in. I am awake. I am alone. I don't remember how or when it happened. I only know that I am not like other people, and like it or not, this is now my life.