There is nothing more agonizing than forgetting a camera when traveling– especially when you run into a two year-old who’s more hipster than the most devoted Rock goer. (Brown’s humanities library). Anyway, there’s no photo today so you’ll have to string these words together into your own personal film reel:
I arrived at South Station yesterday morning to discover the next train to Providence didn’t depart until 1:05 pm. It was at least an hour’s ride back, and I had to be at work by 1:30. The current time was 10:52 am. It didn’t take long to line these three facts side by side and acknowledge their ragged ends. I realized this was one of those situations where you actually have to wait to be late. The next logical step was to head to McDonald’s for a coffee.
Just as I was lifting the plastic tab on the lid to take a sip, I sensed someone duck onto my path.
“Hey, can you spare a dollar?”
I looked up. It was a young woman–probably in her twenties– with hair parted into two shiny black braids. I was struck by the casual air in her tone– as if we were good friends and she had just opened her wallet to find she was short some change. Her nonchalant manner was enough to trip up my usual routine of murmuring “no” under my breath before strolling away. Instead, I looked her in the eye and considered the request.
Lately, one of the first things I notice about strangers is the pattern of wrinkles on their face; you can tell a lot about someone by calculating which expression has weighed most heavily on their features over the years. In this case, however, I noticed only how smooth and calm her skin looked. There was no worry etched into her forehead, no fatigue under her eyes, no disappointment between her brows. She stared back at me with a calm confidence, as if my response–good or bad– was irrelevant. At last, I answered her:
“Sure, but can you do me a favor? See, I have this project…”
She listened to my question and thought for a moment; concentrated tension flashed briefly across her face before dissipating amidst an overwhelming grace.
“God,” she said finally. “Knowing that he loves me and is there for me.”
I nodded silently and thanked her before fishing in my coat pocket for a dollar.