I don't normally do this.
Actually, I don't think I ever have.
The biting chill of winter's breath dug into my bones. The stars were invisible; as if the low temperatures weren't enough, there was an icy mist dancing slowly through the air.
I found very little comfort once I closed the door of my car and started the engine. It would be a while before the heater dared to give me some warmth.
I backed out, and continued on home. I drove slowly through the parking lot, stopping for an occasional car or pedestrian. I was just about out of the exit...
and there you were.
Dirty face. Layers of rags. Long, auburn dreadlocks.
I smiled at you. Both of you, for you were sitting with a guy who matched your appearance.
And I began to drive away.
I thank God for roundabouts. I thought I hated them - going in a circle that is just bound to run you into some idiot driver. But now I'm grateful for those circular death traps of concrete. Because just when i was about to move on with my life and drive far away from where you sat... i felt the intense need to go back to you. So I went all the way around the circle and headed your way.
The feelings in my gut bubbled into my head. I wondered to myself if this was ridiculously stupid. But I soon felt peace.
This was what I needed to do.
I parked fairly close to where you guys were sitting - just a few yards away. I unbuckled my seat belt and stepped back into the unforgiving January night. But each step was worth it.
I approached you, and you looked up at me. There was decay embedded in your smile, but you were beautiful all the same. It was a genuine smile. a humble smile.
I handed you $2... it was truly all I had to spare.
I've heard people say not to give money away like that because "those kind of people" will just turn around and buy something like drugs and the such. But I didn't care one bit.
I didn't care how many have called you "that kind of person". Because, to me, you are a young girl who has a story. You have a life. You have a soul. You have dreams deep inside your worn out heart that whispers to you every now and then. You've probably walked through hell lately. Who am I to label you?
I talked with you guys, asked how you were. You seemed so grateful for two dollars. You said it meant two cheese burgers for two people from McDonald's. Two meals for a pair of hungry, wandering, homeless people.
Both of you were so kind; i didn't feel uncomfortable in the least bit. With every word each of us spoke, I felt a deeper sadness within me towards you. I wanted to take you home with me, give you a hot shower and a place to stay. I wanted to fix everything if I could. But I couldn't... so I gave you what I knew I could.
Perhaps it was just a few dollars, a bit of my time, and the invitation to a church service. But I hope you know I wish and pray the absolute best for you. For both of you.
It was so nice to meet you, Amber.
In fact, I truly hope to see you soon.