Winona, age 60ish, aging streetwalker, Talks about her Thanksgiving

I miss Thanksgivings like the ones we had when I was growing up. Thanksgiving was a really big deal. Christmas too.

Thanksgiving was really important to my family when I was growing up and it felt like a big deal.

Loneliness on Thanksgiving is a fact of life for working girls in downtown Honolulu.
Now I don’t do anything. If you’re not doing anything we can do nothing together for Thanksgiving. But somehow that is not the same. The good thing is, I have product [slang for illegal drugs that could potentially be sold], so I don’t have to worry about getting a date. There’s at least that to be thankful for. That, and I got to borrow a good shopping cart to push my Lacey [her aging Chihauhau who has lived with her on the streets of downtown Honolulu for over 10 years]. Lacey’s wagon got stolen when I was sleeping on Bishop Street and I had my feet on the wagon, but my back hurt so I had to take my feet off the wagon. That’s all it took for somebody to sneak off with the wagon. I never realized how much harder it is to pull than to push, so I hope something comes up. I am lucky this couple let me borrow the wagon but they want it back for their stuff. They really did it for Lacey, so she could be safe from the sun on her face and the hot asphalt on her feet. Really, I wish I had a baby carriage for Lacey because that’s the best. It would attract less attention when we go to get Thanksgiving dinner at “the River” [the River of Life Christian mission provides two free hot meals and holiday supper for hundreds of people, five days a week for almost 20 years.] Things are ok, I guess. I have Lacey, who’s getting to be an old woman just like her mama. Oh, and I remembered to get new rigs {slang for syringes] from “the van” [a community outreach program that exchanges used needles for used ones and gives away free condoms, band aids, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, and “cookers.” That’s my gratitude list. Product, new rigs, Lacey, the wagon, and the River. It’s better than nothing. But I miss my childhood holidays


I could not help but notice that I did not make the gratitude list and the invitation to spend Thanksgiving with me was forgotten after a minute of talking. I had no aspirations of beating out product and new rigs on the gratitude list, but still, it would have been nice to be mentioned. After all, when I was “out there” I had spent time with her, even invited her to my place now that I was doing well. But my place was too far from the action of downtown, meaning, nothing was going on right outside my door so she only stayed for a day and left without saying goodbye. That’s what attempting to be a friend is like with downtown people. Somehow when we are with another person just like us, we are still alone. I wonder if you can feel the isolation as you read this, my beloved reader. Know that I am thinking of you and as always I am grateful that you are spending this time in your life with me. With thanks and love, or in Hawaii that would be, mahalo and aloha.

Caroleena, Thanksgiving Eve, 2020

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