They Used to Tell Me I Was Building a Dream

You know how sometimes when times are hard you get a break and you can breathe for a while, but you really can't breathe too deeply because you know the break is only temporary?

So you tell yourself to enjoy the bounty while you have it, to live in the present, but be frugal. And you do a great job making that eagle bleed, stretching every dollar as far as you can by buying things at the dollar store that you'd spend three dollars on anywhere else...

And you try to fool yourself into thinking that now things have lightened up a little, something good will come along and you'll never, EVER have to face an empty fridge and depleted pantry again. But still, there's that knowing in you, that specter that hangs over your temporary relief. You know the time will come again when you'll worry how the electric bill will get paid and how you'll feed your family. You don't want to be a downer, so you act like the money will always be there and you tell your family, "Never again! We're not going back there again!". But you know it'll come.

Mostly, you don't want to screw up the positive energies or whatever it is that's supposed to pull money and food out of the universe's ass. And when you're broke again, you blame yourself for thinking about the future when you'll open the pantry to find little there except some bread heels, coffee, and a can of mushroom soup.

And you can't look forward to Thanksgiving because not only do you not know where the hell a feast is going to come from, but it reminds you that the terror of Christmas is looming up there, a holiday you've grown to resent and dread over the past few years although you're really not a Scrooge at all.

Your friends are having a hard time too, so you can't ask for help. Besides, you know that a few bucks or a bag of groceries will only last until next week, and there you'll be again. And there's still two weeks until payday. What's the point? No one can afford to support their friends. And they shouldn't anyway.

We should be able to have jobs. We should be able to eat. We should be able to keep a roof over our heads and have lights and heat. We should be able to have dignity, not be punished for a Depression that's not our fault.

This is America, isn't it?

Oh yeah. I forgot. Although I worked for 30 years, raised children, and took care of and buried my parents, I didn't play strictly by the rules, you see. I married someone of my own gender because I'm an immoral, godless deviant. Like the lowlife mooch I am, I got sick with two diseases and couldn't pay for insurance. I dared to age.

The audacity of me.