Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Change

"I bet you can't hit me with a quarter"

The man holding the cardboard sign with the black sharpied on words stood at the corner of the strip mall's entrance, where the light to enter the main road would hold his audience captive long enough that some might entertain the thought of taking up his challenge.

This sign holder was new.  I hadn't seen him before.  He was young, maybe in his 20's, but not by much.  I thought his sign was clever; a new twist to procuring people's spare change; asking, but not quite asking. I went on a search for some quarters as I sat in the passenger seat.  My husband thought it was degrading and chided me for even considering throwing the money at him.  Before I could defend my search the light changed and we drove away.

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She sat on the cold sidewalk.  Her dirty worn dress tucked over her crossed legs.  An even dirtier threadbare blanket stretched across her hunched shoulders.  She held out her little tin cup and asked the people as they passed by, "Can you help me? Anything, anything can help.  Can you spare anything?"

Most of the people walked by her as if she were not even there.  As I came up close to her I dug in my pockets hoping to find something in them.  I clutched the change in my hand as I made sure to make eye contact.  Her eyes were tired and vacant, the kind of eyes you get from watching a world pass you by that never sees you back.

"I am sorry," I said as I dropped the coins into her cup, "but all I have is change."

Before I could move my hand away she grasped it with her other hand.  Her cold, rough fingers held on tight to my soft, pale hand as she said, "Honey that is all any of us has ever got.  Ain't nobody have nothing more than change.  That is all this world is.  It is just one change after another and most of what it gives, you ain't never saw comin'."

She relaxed her grip on my hand but she and her words gripped my heart.  I sat down next to her on that busy sidewalk, grabbed her hand, and asked her to tell me more about her story.

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*Two stories.  One fact and one fiction, although I desire to turn the fiction into fact in the sense that I would hope to take the time to be a warm hand, listening ear, and a person who sees others back in a world that tends to pass by without even looking.


8 comments:

  1. Whoa! What? So you didn’t see the lady? That was amazing! I was captivated! Keep it up! More! :)

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  2. You are such a cheerleader. I never met that lady but she was definitely living in my heart last night as I wrote.

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  3. So good to hear from you again, Karmen. The story about the lady sounded so very real. I was waiting to hear what her story was. There is some truth to the fiction as I'm certain you are like that in real life. :)

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    1. I appreciate your confidence in me Trudy. I hope I would be, but I also know myself well enough to know that I don't know if I would sit down and listen.

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  4. Loved getting your post this morning! I have missed you. Beautiful words here.

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    1. Thank you Michelle! I have missed writing. I hope to get back into the swing of it soon.

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  5. Always good to read reminders of the humanity of those we often walk past. thank you for this.

    Juliet
    https://stilllearning1.wordpress.com

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