August 24 - As usual, Paula walked into the Breakfast wearing her perpetual frown. She is hard to miss, a frail, impossibly thin older lady dressed in mismatched clothes, always wearing a sad face. She is almost always alone and seems to prefer it that way. She'll usually stand away from other people when she is having a cigarette break.
When I finally got up my courage to approach her, I found her very willing to chat. Her grumpy face immediately changed into a big smile when I said "Hello." She bubbled over into an animated conversation in a deep, husky voice that suggested years of cigarettes. She has lived on the streets of Providence "too long." She was difficult to follow, jumping from one subject to another, often in mid sentence. She mentioned her alcoholism, her bipolar struggles and years being homeless, almost in one breath. Along the way, I learned she is 66 years old. She admitted she usually avoids taking her meds. And like almost all the folks I talk with at the Sunday Friendship Breakfast, she holds out hope that someday she will finally have a place to live.