We met at Sanctuary.
She was coming off a bum relationship with a man. I was coming off a bum relationship with a drug that had ruled my life to the point that I had none left.
Sanctuary was cool. We got to chill in a little island of basic comfort, tea and sympathy, while we figured out who we were. Well, actually it was tea and oatmeal, stew in the evenings. And we were assigned chores when we registered at the front entrance, after being frisked for weapons. The chores were reasonable, and would take into account natural aptitudes when they fit with immediate needs. The late night talks were optional. If you were in, you let it hang out exactly as far as you were able. That was respected, especially if you were able to shed light on common issues. So Sheila and I turned out to have a lot of light to share. And, after awhile, a lot of dark as well. But that was later. After Sanctuary had served its purpose in our lives.
I had been raised in one of those corporate towns down South. The daily lessons of propaganda didn't take properly. I took off for more liberal climes as soon as I got my citizen's share. But the cognitive dissonance didn't work out either. I fell into the proverbial downward spiral, until down started to look like up and I truly smelled like despair. One foot in front of the other just wasn't cutting it anymore. At one of the places I was being thrown out of, the proprietor told me about Sanctuary. He told me that was where losers like myself belonged. He wasn't being cruel. He was right. Sanctuary had been set up as a safety net for anyone who needed it. It was paid for by contributions from the community, because everyone realized it saved a lot in costs for law enforcement and who knew when they might need it. It certainly saved my life. And Sheila's. It's a shame things didn't work out for us; but that wasn't Sanctuary's fault. Some things just aren't meant to be. Or maybe they are, but only for a while, only until something gets worked out that started long before in other lives.
I came home one day, and she was gone. Gone to another Sanctuary, in another town, leaving a note asking that I not try to find her. By that time, I didn't have the heart to try.