It’s the Tuesday after Easter, Seventh Avenue mobbed. Spring fever drips from the lampposts and glides up and down the streets and sidewalks. Sara crosses the avenue in strides and swerves around knots of people.
“excuse me, ma’am,” a man touches her arm
She looks at him and stops, wants to draw her arm back, but he looks so average and non-threatening.
“Please don’t be frightened. I’m hungry and have had little to eat in days.” His eyes are full of shame. “I have AIDS and lost my job and home a few months ago. I have no choice but to come to this church for protection though I’m Jewish.” He pauses long enough to take a breath, his hand still pointing at the city church.
the look on his face, his demeanor and pleading burst with humility
“I had a normal life, just like yours, until not long ago. Please, if you can spare me a dollar to buy food, I’d appreciate it. I have never had such hunger.”
He has caught her off guard, not looking like someone who’d ask for money. Then Father John’s voice explodes in her head: Help someone in need, before Easter is over, as penance. She fumbles in her purse for the wallet, her fingers quick, and gives him every dollar she has. It isn’t much, she doesn’t usually carry a lot of cash.
“i’m sorry, this is all I have”
She pleads with him with as much earnest as he had with her. They are in front of the church of Saint Francis of Assisi, not far from her office. She has never been in it.
He thanks her and runs off into a dollar store, barely able to keep his footing. As Sara passes the front doors, she glances sideways and sees him in the aisle of cookies and chips.
Five minutes later, in the office, she sits in her shapely chair and stares out the window, her feet crossed at the ankles. Something about the moment pierces. Easter has passed. Traffic on Sixth Avenue crawls. Did you send him to remind me? The sun gleams off taxicabs and sends sparkles into her eyes.
was this a lesson or a second chance?
but this one scene is not fiction, at all
The whole thing happened exactly as it is written. And it caught me off guard. Today.
and it’s a good thing
I am reviewing Like A Blue Thread in preparation for publishing, endeavoring to read a chapter a day through this month, and this is one of the chapters to read today. I am behind by two chapters. Although — there are thirty chapters in the novel and thirty-one days in July, so I have a cushion. But I am behind that cushion already. S’okay. It’s still very doable.
so i read this short scene
and it made me remember a lot in my life, not in detail, but from a peak, as if from an eagle’s view, and invited me to wonder at all I have seen and experienced, mostly wonderful, though not all, and at how many times, uncountable times, really, I lived lost when I wasn’t.