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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just Write Tuesday #6

I see her almost every day. She wears the same thing--a yellow dress that looks like a night gown. It is ripped, torn and dirty. Her shoes do not match; one is brown, the other is black. Her hair is gray, almost white. It is shoulder length and stuck together in heavy, oily clumps. I often see her with her arm in a garbage can looking for something to eat or recycle. She is a lost soul. No one can change her way of life. She is used to the streets. Some say that is what she likes.

As I walk by I do everything I can to avoid her eye contact on the street. "Please don't look at me. I don't have any money to give you." These thoughts enter my head even on payday.
One day the lady in yellow approached me. She was carrying a large plastic bag. Her smile had only a few teeth, but it was a smile that made you want to smile back. Her appearance was almost grotesque but her eyes told a different story, baby blue, they reflect a hard and tiring life. I saw a fleeting desire for death.

"Honey," she called to me.

"Please don't talk to me," I thought. "I don't have any money to give you."

She stopped in front of me. I had no choice but to look her in the eyes.

"I was at the shelter today," she told me. "They had the most marvelous cakes. They gave me what was left over. Please take one. I can't eat them all."

"You want to give me your food?" I asked, totally astounded. Here I was hoping she didn't ask me for anything and she wanted to give me something.

"You look too skinny," she replied. She is mere skin and bones herself. Looking me directly in the eyes, she continued, "I didn't do anything to them, I swear. You can have three."

She reached into her bag and pulled out three huge sticky rolls. Apparently, she had earlier wrapped them in Burger King napkins. Pulling out a plastic bag from the items she was carrying, she placed them neatly inside for me.

"I can't give you the chocolate ones because the guy who lives under the bridge has children and they'll just love them. Have a good day." She walked away.

I stood there on the sidewalk and felt the sting of tears in my eyes. Everyone walking by was starring at me, maybe because I was crying, maybe because I just took food from a homeless woman. I didn't care what they were looking at.

The lady in yellow's gesture had touched me deep inside. Why do I think I am so much better than her? It is obvious to me now, that I am not.

7 random thoughts:

Enfys said...

What a lovely story, and you expressed it beautifully. It moved me.

Jean said...

That is a good story. It took me this long to read it, but it is very profound. I like it.

Bren said...

Awesome layouts and memories!!!


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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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