Client Story

After a long day, you enter your bedroom and curl up in the soft retreat of a bed. In the silence of your space, the dizzying world outside slows down and you feel safe in the home you’ve made for yourself. Perhaps the walls are decorated and the sheets smell distinctly of you. Perhaps there are calendars, or framed art, or stuffed animals borrowed from childhood that carry certain messages only you could comprehend. It’s strange how the spaces you occupy can reveal who you are.


Cindy spent most of her days in various spaces outside of her home. Her work required frequent and exhaustive travel across Maryland, Pennsylvania, and D.C. for half days at a time. The constant going from place to place often left her exhausted. It was difficult to think of much else when her days were composed of a long list of boxes needing to be checked in order to return back to a life she had made for herself. During one of her trips, Cindy was served a warrant for her arrest due to a missed court date, and without warning, she was taken to the cinder block grounds of a Pennsylvania jail far away from all comfort. Here, there were no pictures of loved ones on the walls, no shelves of books yet to be read, no windows left cracked open so the evening wind could travel through her bedroom. Instead, there was confusion, resentment, and a longing to be back in the one familiar place she had left in order to keep.


Homes are one of our most intimate spaces. When Cindy learned that her landlord was attempting to evict her after passing judgement on her arrest, Cindy felt helpless. Her landlord was tossing her aside without due process in the courts. She questioned whether all of the difficult work she had done to make living there a possibility had been worth the cost of the loss experienced now that it was being taken away. To make matters worse, Cindy’s landlord refused to let her retrieve her things once she was out of jail. Desks and drawers full of charms, notes, and memories would be lost. Gone would be the birthday cards, keepsakes, and furniture passed down from her family. Gone would be the journals, books, and favorite movies. Without help, there would be no way to take back the years of life she had accumulated in the now hollow shell of her home. Her belongings were vulnerable, and there was no guarantee of finding another place for them even if she would find a way to get them back. In the empty apartment with her life’s possessions frozen in time, only the echoes of what once was remained.

(1) Name changed to protect the client’s identity.

The Amara Legal Center thanks Angelica Escalante, a second year Master of Fine Arts student at American University, for her assistance in beautifully presenting the harsh reality of our client’s past. Angelica’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in print and online journals, including The Ruminer and Rewordgitate. She has garnered honorable mentions for her fiction and poetry in national publications, including the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. A California native, she currently resides in Washington, D.C. and assists in teaching English to second language learners.

©2017 Amara Legal Center. Designed by PSK Creative.

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