Friday, May 27, 2011
I picked the kids up at school today and took them to Whole Foods where I put a 2 dollar-per-child limit on any treat they wanted. Two of them chose bags of gummi candies and one chose a bar of Newman's milk chocolate. I also bought a gallon of local organic milk for $6.99, a pound of organic butter for north of $4, a basket of organic strawberries for $3.99 and a bag of brown rice chips for $2-something. I paid in cash. I went to the bank yesterday where I deposited a check from my husband's secondary income and withdrew $200 and the only thing I'd spent it on thus far was a latte from a coffee shop I like to go to so I had plenty of cash in my wallet. We loaded back into the car and headed for home, turning south on Main St. At the corner of Main there was a woman in her 30's holding a sign that said: "Family In Need". Her face was relaxed as she held her sign. She smiled at the cars in traffic, but only slightly. It was a self possessed smile, a relaxed smile. It wasn't drug-driven, it was simple and pleasant. She was cleanly dressed and her long, long dreadlocks were well tended. I considered the money in my purse, tucked in my wallet and at the moment decided the timing inconvenient for passing something through the window: traffic was moving. In my Volvo SUV, behind my Chanel sunglasses, listening to my children joke and giggle in the back seat, I drove by the woman on the corner, only to realize that I didn't recognize her because she wasn't wearing glasses. This woman has a son a year younger than my oldest child and had offered to babysit on many occasions. The last time I'd seen her she was working at the Whole Foods we'd just left, many years before. I'd forgotten about her. I knew her when I was pregnant with my second child and worked in a cafe where she sometimes came with her husband for lunch. But now I was half a block away from her and I could hardly do anything about it, could I? I haven't stopped thinking about her, her son, her husband, in need, without even her glasses.