Her name is Lorraine, like the motel where Martin Luther King was shot.
Long tangled hair, grey-brown. Bad teeth. 52 and haggard.
The kind of woman who coughs and hacks and spits in the morning.
Her diet: milk, whitebread, mayonnaise, corn, canned tuna, boiled hotdogs, hamburger buns, instant decaf coffee.
Calls me Marshall or Matthew or Michael and, only once, Raymond.
Frequently offers me food, which I decline.
- Fruit snacks (“They got Vitamin C.”)
- Coca-Cola (“It's fresh!”)
- Crackers (“Whole wheat.”)
- Chicken giblets (“They're tough. They'll make you strong!”)
Has one of those plastic pill trays with compartments for MORN, NOON, EVE, and BED.
Doesn't have a phone or a computer. The woman who keeps her money was supposed to set her up with a TV and a cellphone but hasn't.
Her friends generally get her attention by standing in front of the building and yelling her name.
In the neighborhood where we live, there are wild roaming chihuahuas.
Used to work sweeping floors, but now no longer works.
Asks me a few times a day for 50 cents, to buy loosies from the corner store. We keep a running tab. I promised myself I wouldn't give her more than $5, but eventually she wore me down. She'll have money for me on the first of the month.
Has a boyfriend, who is apparently French and a carpenter. Sometimes she helps him in some capacity, for which he pays her in McDonald's. He also lets her wash her pissy clothes at his place.
Asked me to buy cocaine for her once, but I said no.
Some things she says:
- “Oh, yeeaahh?” (face scrunches up like a chipmunk)
- “Wooow” (breathless awe; can be said after any statement )
- “Can I borrow fifty cents, baby?”
Is somewhat pleasant to talk to, considering.
Smoked inside the apartment until I told her to stop, then continues to smoke inside when I'm not around. Uses a little crystal swan as an ashtray.
Brought a stray cat into the apartment. I made her kick it out, but she still lays out little dishes on the floor for it.
There's milk souring somewhere where I can't find.
I don't know if she has the cat hidden away somewhere or if she is keeping an imaginary cat.
I have since moved out.
L: “Do you have a car?”
L: “Wooow. What color is it?”