The structure from the fifties seemed forgotten in the 1980s world, alone on on a corner. Two of other corners were vacant lots and one was the location of a small convenience store. The building and the store seemed time would to become gentrified living space wasn't too far off.
It wasn’t far from high rise apartment building where I lived. I walked there easily.
As I stood on the corner diagonally from my destination, an old woman asked if I might help her cross the not so busy street. All my life I had heard of boy scouts helping old ladies cross the street, but I’d never had the chance. The idea felt good.
I put out my arm to help her. We walked ever so slowly from one corner to the next, conversing. Then she asked me to same to the next corner, taking me to where I need to be. I accommodated with good feelings. It was a nice thought to walk into an interview with.
Upon our arrival, she repeated her request a third time. This bothered me, but I continued to help. Yes, at that juncture she asked again. I retunrned her to where she had started. The question was reqpeated one more time.
I told her, “No, thank you,” pointing to the small building where I had my meeting.
The woman with the soft voice and the over-worn face asked me for a quarter. I gave her one. But I didn’t feel good about it. I felt taken for walk.
I walked quickly away to my interview. While I waited with the receptionist for the person I would be meeting. I told her the story. She said, “Oh you, met Sophie. We’ve told her not to do that. She’s always trying to get quarters that way.”
I wondered whether she was after the money, the conversation, or both.
I don’t remember the interview, the interviewer, the part-time job, or even what or companie it was I had gone there to explore,. I don’t recall the inside of the building beyond the doorway where I was buzzed in. I don’t remember the receptionist only what she said.
But I still have a picture of Sophie in my mind and still remember how sad and conflicted I felt leaving that building, hoping that she wasn’t there.
−me strauss Letting me be.