He sat on a mattress on the floor of his unfurnished, single room apartment. Before him were two slips of paper.
One was a bill from Memphis Light Gas and Water letting him know how delinquent he was with his payments, and notifying him that his service was going to be terminated the following Monday.
On Tuesday it was supposed to drop below freezing.
The other piece of paper was a shopping list. Food, toilet paper, a new toothbrush to replace the one that had lost nearly all of its bristles.
He didn’t have enough money to pay for the things on both slips of paper.
Inside his head, this felt like some kind of sick joke. Like a question from one of his philosophy finals come to life, where he had to defend his choice with the writings a dead French guy.
If things had gone according to plan, if that job he was planning on had come through, or if his old one had held on a bit longer, he would’ve been out of debt by 2021. Instead, he lost his house in 2010.
To be cold or to be hungry. Those were his choices.
Cold or hungry.
Memphis is one of the poorest cities in the nation, with more than a quarter of the population saying they’ve had to choose between utility bills and buying food. And sadly, there’s not some silver lining to this cloud, things are stagnant and it is up to us to make a difference in our city.