Kindness Rides in a Pink Limousine
“Are you waiting for someone?” the old woman asked, stooping over to get closer to the man sitting on the cement curb.
“We used to go away on weekends,” the man said. “But not anymore.”
The hem of his London Fog overcoat lay on top of the grill leading down to the sewers. Bits of garbage from the streets clogged the one side, gathered there from the last rainfall.
“I don’t even know how it happened.” He rubbed a hand across the bottom of his face, feeling the shadow of a day-old stubble. “I’ve been walking around all night, trying to figure that out.”
“Can you stand up?” she asked.
“I can’t go back there.”
“Can you stand up?” she asked again.
He looked up at her, a change of emotion appearing on his face. “Of course. I’m not an invalid.”
The old woman stepped back.
Pushing himself up from the level of the sidewalk, he said, “Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” Standing there beside her, he glanced down at his shoes. “I just bought these last week. They look like I pulled them out of a garbage can. They were supposed to have been made in Italy. I think the guy lied to me.”
The old woman squinted her eyes.
He looked at her wrinkled face and wondered where he’d sleep that night.
“Where do you live?” she asked.
He waved his hand in the air. “Over that way. Couple of streets over.”
“I can give you a lift home.”
“My legs will take me where I want to go.”
“It’s not your legs I’m worried about, young man.”
“Am I a young man?”
“I don’t see any grey hairs,” she answered.
A pink Cadillac pulled up in front of them.
“That’s your car?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pink car.”
“No one will see you through the tinted windows.”
They both climbed into the back seat.
“What’s your address?” she asked.
Once inside the confines of the car, she noticed the smell of fear and something else. A week’s worth of dirty laundry and sweat.
The driver looked in the rear view mirror.
“Sinclair, you heard the man. 42 Dovercliffe, please.”
The pink car zigged and zagged through the traffic, pulling up in front of the blackened skeleton of a building.
“You used to live here?” the woman asked.
The young man nodded, not looking out the window.
“I lost everything. Everything burned.”
“You haven’t any money left?” she asked.
He turned to look at the building.
“My wife and our dog… I had to work late that night.”
“How long ago was this?” she asked.
He placed both of his hands over his face, mumbling something no one could have understood.
The woman searched for something in her purse. Pulling out a cell phone, she said, “I’m sorry. I won’t be able to make it this weekend. Something important has come up.”