So i’m a homeless sixteen year-old runaway that had just escaped from Hidden Lake Academy and was now spare changing with my homegirl, Flower, on the streets of Providence Rhode Island when I looked up from my Indian-print blanket, which I was sitting on while burning incense and holding up signs like “need money for beer pot and hookers” and saw this dude named Mike.  He went to Brown University and I had met him on my first day homeless, about two months ago.


I looked up.

Where you been?  He asked me…

Well, lotta places.  Some abandoned attic.  I took the Greyhound to Birmingham Alabama for a bit… uhhh… I been holding Dreadie John’s dope while he goes around and sells it cause he’s got some warrants, seven of them actually, out for his arrest…. uhhh I slept in the park, and some dude’s house named Sammer.  Some weird commune—

I coulda kept going, but I saw this girl.

Next to Mike was a well-dressed pretty blonde girl with fair skin and blue eyes.  She was wearing tight fitted jeans and a plain sweater.  Dressed exactly how you would expect a smart, ivy-league girl to dress.   

This is my friend Lucy, said College Mike.  Oh yeah, I called him College Mike.  Cause there was Car Mike too.  Everybody had a street name.

She smiled at me.

They were looking for painkillers.   I had no idea where to buy painkillers, but I was up for the challenge and asked Lucy to join me.  I told College Mike to watch my blanket and brought Lucy with me up the street, stopping at every corner.  She giggled, full of adrenaline doing something she had obviously never done before.  She told me she was a nineteen year-old English major in her junior year.

How old are you?  She asked.

I thought to myself…hmmm… how old am I?  Sixteen was definitely too young for her, and I didn’t want to blow it.  I lied and said I was eighteen.  Eighteen sounded about right.

I’m eighteen.

We found a dealer who said he had an 80mg pill of oxycotton for forty bucks.  Neither of us had ever taken oxycotton before and wondered if he was ripping us off with that price.  He opened the palm of his hand and showed us some pill, it could have been any pill.   Lucy and I stared at his hand, not sure what oxycotton was supposed to look like.  Was this worth forty bucks?

I’ll buy it for us, Lucy said.

It was an uncomfortable exchange of money.


How do we take it?

Swallow it?

Crush it up and snort it, he told us.

We pretended it was kicking in, and I asked what she was up to for the rest of the night.  She seemed interested, like she was intrigued with me, so I offered to bring her to one my favorite spots under this statue at Prospect Park that overlooked the city.

I thought I knew where the park was, but I didn’t and instead got us lost in some neighborhood.  We hung all over each other, like two lovers on a first date, laughing at my lack of direction.

Wait—I thought this was… you know, you’re home!  She was full of homeless jokes.

When we arrived at the park we stepped through the soft grove-like grass and gazed at the incredible view of the city-scape.

Windows illuminated the buildings as I thought of the hardworking folk still at their job, working overtime.  I imagined them away from their family, trying to make an extra buck to buy things they probably did not even need.

What a different life that would be…

We hopped over the steel fence that protected that statue I was tellin you about and lied hidden between these stone arches that stood erect around the statue.  Out of sight from everyone.  A clear shot of the state capitol stood out proudly under the Statue of Roger Williams, the creator of the colony of Rhode Island.

We kissed and talked and shivered and smoked all night.   I awoke at five in the morning in the same spot.  I woke Lucy up.  There was a glimmer in her eyes as she remembered where she was.

We should find somewhere a bit more comfortable to sleep, come with me, she told me.

Over the fence, across the park, down the street, through the neighborhood, onto the main green of Brown University and finally arriving at the front door of her dorm.

And that’s how I went from being homeless to being an Ivy-league student overnight.  But the glamour didn’t last too long.

Here’s What Happened Next

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