It’s the middle of the night and my mom has me wrapped tight in a bundle of blankies carrying me to the car. Mom tells me it’s ok with a kiss on my forehead and tucks me into my car seat. I don’t wake up til the car comes to a stop. All I can see is a huge brick building. The three of us, mom brother and I, stagger to the door only to find it locked. It won’t open again till 7am. We pile back in the car and find a grocery store to munch on snacks till the building opens. She was so sure going to the shelter was the right thing to do, and nothing could stop her. See, mom had been raped for most of her life and found the strength to leave the house to create a new future for my brother and I. A bag of corn chips, cookies, and a jar of artichoke hearts later, it was finally 6:45am. Brick building again, only it isn’t as scary during the day. We head in leaving the blankies in the car. Inside, up a couple flights of stairs, we come to a huge open area. There’s people walking around and kids playing tag inside. Blinding lights and a lady with a clip board calls us in just like the doctor’s office. When the door closes it gets surprisingly quiet. The colorful toy garage catches my eye first, but then there’s a play kitchen with fake food. That absorbs most of my attention. Mom interrupts my preparation of a huge meal including a whole turkey with sprinkles, mashed potatoes (no gravy), and cookies all mixed together in one large bowl. And even though I wasn’t finished, I hand the bowl to mom and offer her a taste. Mom takes a quick taste. She’s in a rush and places the bowl back on the stove. We had to hurry and gather our things from the car so the lady could show us where we’d sleep tonight.