Starting a Janitor’s Job and a New Relationship
When we met him, Doug, 49, was getting ready to go to Tesla for a graveyard shift.
“Today will be my fourth day,” he said. “I'm doing janitorial type of work, which I'm really happy for because that's all I do out in the street is pick up the trash everywhere I go. I've been doing it for free for since I've been here pretty much 25 months and this is my third winter outside,” he said.
He says his life got derailed when his two kids got taken away from him by Child Protective Services in Colorado.
Maintaining a relationship and having intimacy while living on the streets is no easy feat. “There's no sanctuary,” he said. “There's no time to have a relationship. I'm not talking about sexual… I learned that sexual relationships do not make a relationship because we've walked in this relationship for several months now without any sexual activities and our relationship is stronger. “
Getting Sober and Fleeing Abuse
Annette, 46, who also has two children, has been sober for nearly a year. She used to work in housekeeping, but has a debilitating heart condition, which prevents her from still working. She collects disability payments and keeps her kindest words for her dog Kika.
“I got her in 2010,” she said of her best friend, who is now 14. “She's my survivor right here, you know … She's my great protector. It just kind of hurts me to have her out here so I cannot give up on her. I'm originally from California and I moved up here in ‘88 so I've been up here since I had my boys here growing up.”
She said she fled abusive situations in the early 90s, and that since then her life fell apart. Death in her family, including a brother who died in his 30s of alcoholism, made her spiral further downward. Now as she gets better, she says it takes most of her energy to deal with constant harassment on the streets.
Love and No Regrets
“Just be honest with each other … and just support him no matter what,” Annette said of her message for Valentine’s Day.
“Treat others how you want to be treated,” Doug said. “Love is being empathetic, compassionate, patient, loyal, honest, kind, gentle.”
Whatever the hardships in her life, Annette said she has no regrets. “There wouldn't be one thing I can change because everything has a story or a memory and that’s what brings life. “