#72 In Roads-Touched
Standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change, a quiet voice pulls me out of my own head. I’ve spent a great deal of time lost while in this city and today has been no different. Next to me stands a woman with a fluffy little dog swaddled to her chest. She tells me I look upset. I throw my arms in the air in desperation since I’m wet and frazzled and apparently cannot hide my frustration.
Mo gives directions to the train and walks along with me for a bit. “Baby’s having a good day,” she says sweetly. “My last friend committed suicide, so I keep this one close to me all the time. Baby’s never out of my sight.” I do not ask for details. It’s a story I don’t want to know. “It’s hard to keep a dog when you’re homeless but I love her so we just work it out.” She snuggles with the little dog that has a princess demeanor about her. I ask if she’s homeless because of drugs and she says yes, and because of mental health issues. I ask what drugs. “The bad kind, of course,” she tells me calmly. I point out that I don’t know of any good drugs and says, “You’re right, but I like the worst kind.”
I ask if I can take her picture and she poses. “Are you going to make me famous?” Mo asks with a giggle. “My son would like that.”
I ask the 46-year old to tell me about her son and she stops walking to explain that he’s a very smart computer geek with a great job in a nearby city. She calls him a genius. He’s doing very well and his mama glows as she brags proudly about his success. I ask if her being homeless is a problem for him. She hangs her head and looks at her shoes.
“Yes, he’s very upset about it. He worries his employer will find out and he doesn’t know what to do. There’s really nothing he can do now, is there?” she says. We’re almost to the train depot so I thank her for the company and dig in my pocket for any cash. I offer her what I have, which isn’t much. She smiles sweetly and reaches out to pat my arm.
“No, sweetie, thank you but you keep that. I have all I need right now. See, there’s supper,” she points out a stand where they are dishing up soup to hand out to the hungry. “And it’s stopped raining so Baby and I have a nice place for tonight. Besides,” she nods, “no disrespect, but it looks like you need that for yourself. Blessing to you, honey.” I walk away before she can see the tears.