Stacey & Belinda

IMG_2854[1]IMG_2856[1]StaceyI felt much more at ease with my part time project to draw people on the street this time around.  I had to forget the experience I had last time and realize that I’m just drawing people.  Whatever their story might be, whether they’re true to themselves and the people around them or not it’s just about being conscious, observant, and asking questions that open the doors to an interesting story.  Today’s drawing is of Stacey and her dog Barrett.  I could sense a deep connection by the way Stacey constantly watched and talked to her dog, seeing to his needs like food and water and scratching him where he needed to be scratched.  Drawing her left arm and moving down towards her hand I could see the bright highlight of a wedding ring.

‘Do you have a husband?’

 ’No, my partners a woman’

I apologized for making an silly assumption. Not long after wards Belinda arrived with a cup of coffee placing it in front of Stacey’s stretched out figure.  Another dog appeared from behind me wagging his tail and then getting in between me and my easel.

So this is your protection at night’ I said to both the ladies who looked quite content with what were only male figures in their lives.

As the drawing was coming to a finish I found myself asking a stream of questions.  I knew there was an interesting story waiting to be told.

What’s the hardest thing about being on the streets?’

Stacey & Belinda: ‘Not being able to have a shower.  We’re women and we like to keep clean, especially during that time of the month but there’s no services for women like there are for men’.

Is there Anything positives that have come from being on the streets?’

Stacey: ‘There are no good things…  The good thing is having my dogs. I could have gone to a refuge but I would have to give up my dogs to the pound’.

Have you tried giving your dogs to a friend that will take them in for you?’

Stacey: ‘I had Barrett since he was 6 months and now he’s 15 years old.  If we were separated he wouldn’t survive. He howls if ever we’re separated’.

Suddenly Belinda drifted out of the conversation, stepped up and ran off around the corner.

When and how did you and Belinda meet?’

 Stacey: ‘We met seven and a half years ago in gaol’

What was it about Bel that attracted you to her?

Stacey: ‘I don’t know.  She was shy, never spoke.  We began an 18 month relationship until I was let out.  Others told her I wouldn’t wait for her but 2 weeks later when Bel got out we were back together again’.

Belinda now with a cigarette in her mouth had come to join us again in the conversation.

‘Why are you homeless and how long have you been homeless for?’

Belinda: ‘We’ve been homeless for 3 months.  Housing commission were still charging Stacey rent even while she was taken into prison again for threatening to kill someone, and I couldn’t afford the rent’.

‘What were you in gaol for?’

Stacey: I’ve been in and out of gaol so many times I can’t remember the reason why for most of them. The last time was for threatening to kill someone.   

Belinda: I stabbed someone that was picking on my daughter.

That’s where I left it. We split the money we’d made, my portion went towards a falafel roll and the train ticket home.