Kindness of Strangers

It's a cold night, fog covers the ground and headlights glimmer through the dewy mist. She walks the side of the road alone, with her child held tightly. Her body weak, her child cold, with tears of starvation flowing from the eyes. Car's pass by without a second thought. Many pass by with glaring eyes as they approach through the fog. Giving judgment as they see a woman with a child walking in the cold of the morning. Some honk and whistle, yelling out obscenities. The woman does her best to ignore the foul calls of strangers, doing all she can to keep her child warm.

These are not the streets any woman should be walking alone. And if they are, it is for the purpose of business, a business of special clientele. As the woman continues to walk down the street a driver see's her as she appears from the fog. The driver slows down, tinted windows, a clean black body, and black rims swallow the car. The driver slows down enough to catch a look at the woman. The woman sees the car from the corner of her eye but neglects the car and continues to walk, embracing her child.

The driver is now pacing the woman's speed, a window rolls down in the back of the car. A man, clean shaven, a scar above his right eye and heavy cigar smoke speaks out.

"Where are you going lovely? Its cold out."

The woman, with her crying child, looks over at the man with dead eyes and continues to walk.

The man peering from the window speaks again, more cigar smoke sails from the window,

'You have a place to stay? You're child must be freezing, a pretty gal like you should not be  walking these streets alone in the cold. Come with me, I will give you a place to stay and food. I am sure your child could use some food and a warm place."

The woman stops, as she stops the man in the car gestures the driver to stop as well. The woman looks over and the man wears a smile, the woman could see his eyes. The woman stares into the eyes of the man as she swaddles her child beneath her jacket. His eyes, a dark blue, she felt a wicked presence about the man. His stare gave the woman chills like the touch of ice. The man staring with a smile, opens his door and slides to the other side of the car.

The woman feels her body aching from the walk and her soul wallowing in shame. Her heart heavy with sorrow for her child. A tear drops from her eyes, the man sees and quickly changes is demeanor to meet the moment.

"No need to cry miss, here, get in, I have some water and the heat is turned up quite nicely."

The woman, staring at the man feels the heat from the car slightly drift toward her. Everything in her wants some warmth and water, especially for the sake of her child. But the woman shakes her head, politely smiles and declines the offer and keeps walking.

The mans face quickly changes from sympathy to anger.

"Alright miss, enjoy the cold, I am sure your child will thank you for it, I guess I will see you on the news tonight."

The man slams his door and drives off. The fog has almost dispersed from the ground as the sun is slowly rising. The brisk air, now coated in an orange haze becomes much cooler. The woman feels the air freeze her lungs, She holds her child tighter to her chest and starts to cry. She does not know what to do anymore, her head faces the ground as she follows the edge of the street with her tired eyes. Rain starts to trickle from the sky. The woman is filled with more anguish as nature has not pity for her.

Her child screaming with hunger fills the silent air around them. The woman starts to gently bounce her child and sings. The child calms a bit, the woman sees a bus stop just ahead. She makes it to the bus stop and sits down. She removes her child from her jacket, the child starts to cry again as the cold air stings the child's skin, The woman whispers with a nurturing voice that everything will be okay. She holds the child in one arm as she removes her jacket from one side and proceeds to do the same with the other side. She then takes her jacket and swaddles the child in it. The child ceases to cry as the woman rocks the child softly in her arms.

The woman looks around and sees a bus approaching, she stands up, still rocking her child. The bus pulls with is growling engine, the door swings open on the bus with the sound of a hiss. The woman steps onto the bus and approaches the driver. Her face exhausted, her eyes drained of tears, with her starving child, she looks at the driver,

"I have no money and I am trying to get to safe place, my child hasn't had food in two days, Please can you take us into the city I have family there?"

The bus driver, overweight, coffer stains on his shirt, and a chin that envelopes his neck, breaths with invasive breaths, "Sorry miss, no can do, if I do it for you I gotta do it for them." As he looks in the review mirror looking at the passengers.

The woman with dispair in her voice, "Please, my child will die if I don't get somewhere soon!"

The driver sits silent looking out at the street ahead. The woman sees the look on the mans face, turns around and leaves the bus. As soon as she steps foot on the ground, the driver closes the door and drives off. She sits back down at the bus stop and starts to cry, but no tears come out. Her child is fast asleep and the woman is filled with heartache.

A few cars pass by when suddenly a car approaches and stops abruptly about ten feet from the bus stop. It's a man in a suit in an old beat up car. The woman looks over to see what is going on. The man in the suit opens his doors, steps out of the car in frustration. The man with an irksome attitude kicks his door shut while trying to wipe something off his over sized suit jacket and his white dress shirt. The woman watches and has a small smile appear in her face. A sense of empathy and the fact that she is not alone in a terrible times lifts her spirit some.

The man still trying to remove something from his clothes, looks over to his right and sees the woman sitting there looking at him. The woman quickly looks away. The man stops what he is doing, he is not sure why but his frustration subsides upon seeing the woman. Maybe it was out of embarrassment, but what ever it was it stopped. He places his handkerchief in his right pants pocket and begins to walk over to the woman.

The woman keeps her eyes the ground as she hears the crushing of gravel from the mans steps. The man reaches the woman, adjusts his tie and sees the child in the woman's arm. Clouds of breath are exchanged between the three of them.

"Miss, are you okay, its freezing out and you have baby wrapped in, what I assume is your jacket and you are not appropriately dressed for this weather I might add."

The woman slowly looks up with saddened eyes, "I.....I don't...I don't know what to do?!"

The man feels his heart beat with sympathy for the woman's child. Please, let me help, is there anything I can do?

The woman still crying, " its okay....I don't want to be a burden, I already am to my child."

The man with kindness in his voice, "Well, if I might say, sitting out in the cold won't do any good for you or the baby. Let me help, is there someone I can take you to?"

The woman rocking her child as she looks up at the man, " Can you take me to the city I have family there?"

The man nods and helps the woman and child into his car. "Sorry for the mess, I just lost my job a month ago and haven't been in the best of moods. Have an interview today, hence the suit." As he looks himself in the mirror slicking his hair to the side.

The woman's face becomes worried, "An interview?! And you lost your job, you really do not have to do this, I can figure something else out!"

The man turns to woman with a gentle smile, "Trust me, its okay, I don't want this job anyways, plus, they say everything happens for a reason."

The man puts the car in drive and drives onto the road. The sun has set in the sky, giving a beautiful glow between the grey clouds and the trickling of the rain. After thirty minutes of driving they arrive in the city. During the drive the woman fell asleep. The man wakes her and tells they have arrived in the city and asks where to go.

"Can you drop me off at 58th drive? Its just off 132nd there by the grocery store."

The man keeping an eyes on the road, "Yes I can, we should be there in about another ten minutes." The man looks over at the women and she is already back asleep.

They arrive at 58th, the man wakes the woman up, "we are here."

The woman checks on her child, "Thank you, its the house on the left up here."

The man pulls the car up to the house, the woman and child get out of the car, she turns around and leans into the car, "Thank you so much, I don't know how to repay you?"

"You made me miss my interview, that's good enough, (the man laughs), here, take my number, if you need anything call me, I know what it is like to be stuck in the dark. Sometimes a little bit of help from another can go a long way. "

The man pulls a pen and a small booklet from his suit jacket and writes his number on the inside, rips a page out and hands it to the woman. " I never got your name?"

The woman smiling, "My name is Ruth."

The man smiles back, " My name is Noah, nice to meet you Ruth."

Ruth, " You too Noah and thank you again." Ruth closes the door and Noah drives off.      

Thank you for reading!

(When has an act from a stranger made your day better?)

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