I pulled up to my preferred spot, as per usual. I grabbed my purse, the notebook I carry with me, my hot-water-with-lemon, and locked up the rig, as per usual. I walked toward the entrance door, keys in hand, as per usual, but was then shocked to notice a very bright Mexican blanket covering a sleeping body beneath, with a bike, partially covered by said blanket, laying next to the colorful lump.
How odd, in all my 15+ years working at this building, I had never seen someone, seemingly homeless, set up camp on the property. It was early still, probably 7:25 am. I unlocked the door, juggling my stuff, as per usual, without giving it much thought other than, "hmm, he'll/she'll likely be on his or her way in the next hour or two." If not, I was pretty sure the building manager would be on his or her's ass about getting up and out.
My morning proceeded, as per usual, and when lunchtime rolled around and I stepped outside to go grab a bite, I was shocked to find the bright blanket with human beneath it still there, just feet from our office building entrance. I, quite honestly, had forgotten about our unexpected visitor.
I gave a quick glance and was surprised by how seemingly young the visitor was. He didn't look to be more than 18 or 19. His hair was dyed, and he was now resting on his back, with his face visible, although the rest of his body was still covered by the blanket, bike still laying by his side.
I gave a half smile and nod and got in my car. I was on my way to pick up my "grilled grande bowl, no meat" and thought about how lucky I was. With just a phone call, I ordered up cabbage covered with rice, beans, guacamole and cheese, then jumped in my leather-upholstered SUV to pick it up.
He must be hungry, I thought to myself.... You know, I should grab him a burrito, I thought.... But no, it takes forever to get the food there if you don't order it in first, I thought.... Well, I should really get some more fruit for the house because the girls will be home for 5 days and man do they eat a lot all-of-a-sudden.... Maybe I'll stop at that fruit-stand store on my way to my lunch and grab us all us some food there.
So I did.
I found myself taking a long time (much longer than it would have taken to order and wait for the burrito) choosing his lunch. I went into some unconscious auto-mom mode. I'm quite sure it was not his ideal meal, but goddammit, it was healthy. There was a giant, crispy apple; a chilled string cheese; one of those adorable hummus-and-thin-pretzel kits that you see in airports and Costco; a cold bottled water; and some chocolate with hazelnuts from Belgium (which I had had from there before and knew was delicious). At least he'll like the chocolate, I thought to myself. And the water.
Getting back in the car with the bag of lunch foods, I realized that I had completely neglected to get fruit for my girls. And that my grilled grande bowl was probably getting cold.
I got my bowl, drove back to the office, and handed the white plastic lunch bag to the boy on my way in. He feigned sleep as I walked from my car toward the door, but glanced up when he could feel me approaching. He was older than I had first thought, probably more like mid-twenties. I handed him the bag with a simple, "Here's some food if you are hungry," then, key already out, entered the building.
I can't remember exactly what he said. Did he say anything? His expression was one of surprise, and relief (that I was not going to bitch at him, I assume). I think he did mutter something.
I didn't expect him to say anything. He didn't ask me for any food. He may not have even wanted any food. I have no idea if he even ate the food. But I bet he did. At least the chocolate and the water.
And probably the apple, and the hummus-and-pretzels, and the cheese stick. Although maybe not all at once. I hope he the ate the cheese stick straight away though, because those get kinda slimy and gross when warm.
He wasn't there when I left the building to go home. I assume he packed up his colorful blanket and peddled away. Hopefully in peace and with a full-ish belly.
Later that day I read that in addition to being the Fall Equinox we were also getting three levels of support from Aryaman (Vedic deity), who "gives resources, but does so through sustenance - mainly health of the body and physical stamina and strength as a result." I get that you may not believe in this, I don't know if I do either, but it did feel as though I was being guided by something in my quest-for-the-healthy-lunch-for-the-stranger. Either way, whether placed in my path by some divine grace, or by some random coincidence (and really, aren't they often the same thing?), it felt good to be driven to provide for someone outside of my small circle.
Once upon a glass or twelve of wine, Jacquie and Beth and Ellie got to talking. We decided that we were all enormously smart and clever and hilarious, and that it would be a crime not to share our unique talents with the world. We decided to start a blog together.
We needed a name, so Jacquie asked Beth: “What should we call a blog about meand you and Ellie?” And the rest, as they say, is history. We are having a blast writing this thing, and if there was any trepidation that we were only smart and clever and hilarious that night because of all the wine, our words here thus far have succinctly affirmed our mutual self-admiration.
What are you reading?
Ellie - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
Jacquie - The Goldfinch, Donna Tart
Beth - Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz