Sue Gets Paper(work)

“I need your name, an ID number, and a copy of a current utility bill as proof of address.” That’s what the receptionist said to Sue this morning when she got to the front of the line that began forming at the front of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry an hour before the stocky woman in the floral print skirt unlocked the glass door and propped it open with a sandbag.

It’s what the clerk at the Department of Public Welfare had asked for the week before when she applied for rent assistance and food stamps. Also, the librarian, when she went to get a card to avail herself of the free internet services and computer workshops.

Had ANYTHING been in her name at all, she might not have been at their mercy, she felt like screaming, but silly old Sue had truly believed that staying home with the girls would turn out just fine so she never really questioned Larry being the only one to sign the papers. It worked that way for all the other moms on the block.

Larry is a real prick, sure, but he has a good job so there was no reason for her to go back to work when the girls were born. He’s regional manager of a furniture chain and she gets got to pick out a new couch or armoire every Christmas. Things were great, financially. Plus, she figured, if they ever split up, she’d get half the house and the assets. She’d never thought about what happens if your husband leaves without bothering with the divorce part. He’s still legally on the hook for all the payments, but he likes delaying them a bit, just enough for the creditors or mortgage company to start calling, which sends her blood pressure through the roof.

The good news is that since he hasn’t made it official, she still has health insurance even if she doesn’t have cash for the co-pays. If she has a heart attack and lives through it, she won’t have to declare bankruptcy.

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