The young woman sat huddled in the bus shelter for what little warmth it offered. In the early hours of a January morning, in below freezing temperatures, she found herself in a coat and a summer skirt, the frosty air biting at her flesh through her clothing. All she wanted was to lie down on her soft mattress and sleep, but her cozy bedroom was no longer an option; it was lost to her forever.
“Get out of my house” he had barked at her, hate shooting from his strange silver eyes like laser beams. And she had fled in terror of his seething rage.
Late-night revellers passed her by, every one of them pretending they hadn’t seen the shivering, sobbing figure slumped on the floor of the bus shelter. Nobody wanted to know how the young girl had arrived at such a crises, and none wanted to offer their help. She was probably an addict of some kind, made homeless by her own stupidity and poison of choice. Perhaps she was even a prostitute waiting for her pimp – more and more of these people were creeping into leafy suburbia these days.
The girl was none of those things. She was well-bred, educated, a hard worker in a local nursing home. She loved people and animals, and until tonight she had loved the man who had now so thoughtlessly cast her out of the home they had shared for three years – just yards away from where she now sat with not even a sleeping bag to keep her from the worst of the cold.
He had duped her. Worn her down and subtly abused her emotionally for years, until she was depressed enough to agree to anything to keep him with her – including taking her own name off the rent agreement. He had paced and loomed over her as she had signed the paperwork which had sealed her fate.
He had planned this; of that she was certain. She had already suspected that he was having an affair.
She had her phone with her, and she used what little credit remained on it to dial a number. Twenty minutes feels like twenty years when you are homeless, freezing and frightened, but eventually a car stopped and gentle arms were around her, helping her to stand. A soothing voice in her ear prevented her from collapsing completely – and presently she was inside the car, on her way to warmth, safety, and an uncertain future.
This night she had become one of the hidden homeless, as he had laughed at her from an upstairs window and ejected her from what was now his kingdom and domain.