M decides to sit and wait for her food. She always picks the same seat. Corner table. Back to the wall. Always making sure that nobody will consider joining her. M is extremely quiet this morning. She sits face in hands at times. At other times, she looks up to her imaginary 8 foot face battling with her thoughts. What is going on in that head? When I take the order of toast and boiled eggs over, she thanks me. And I believe that she is grateful.
M is always the last to leave the shelter. This morning I send her off into the cold with a "take care" which is met by total silence. For the longest time, she stands outside the door. When I see her again, like a statue she is standing 10 feet further looking down.
My shift is over. I walk out towards my car and there is M, standing still. Still standing. I decide to speak with her.
I start with: "M, is there anything I can help you with?"
"I don't know, she answers, can you?"
"Talk to me," I respond.
Her response was my reality call: "Why would I talk to you? I don't even know you." Like my earlier "take care" her words met my total silence but did not fall into deaf ears. I walk away. I walk away thinking that she is right. Why on earth would I begin to think that I could help?