Friday Drabble: Intersection

drabble is a very short story of exactly 100 words. Feel free to join in and write your own drabbles on Fridays and tag them with “friday drabble” and on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble. This one is based on some observations during my commute.

Intersection

The shambling woman wore a tattered sweatshirt and knit hat despite the blazing afternoon heat. She lugged a plastic jug of water and a small piece of folded cardboard.

Gleaming in the sun and thrumming with restrained horsepower, the line of cars waiting to turn left were emblazoned with the alphanumeric currency of success: S550, A6, LS460, 535i, XJ-8.

The woman lurched onto the street. Reaching the median, she swayed and unfurled her sign, a barely legible “Bless yOu! AnytHinG heLpS!” Stumbling, she lost her balance, sprawled onto the street, and scrambled to avoid oncoming traffic.

The cars turned left.

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15 thoughts on “Friday Drabble: Intersection

    • MT — I hate to think about what would have happened if she’d actually fallen in front of moving traffic. Would anyone have bothered then?? I don’t think I want the answer.

  1. Your descriptions and their undercurrents are always the highlight, Steve. We’re seeing this all over the place here, one time I stopped to chat with someone because she looked like a teenager and was in a dangerous place. She had just moved here but the job she was supposed to get fell through. I gave her some money and walked her to the grocery store. Sad, she had parents in the Midwest but no way to get home. Always wonder what more could be done for folks like this.

    • I see it everyday at a couple of intersections on my commute. These folks are staked out for as long as the police will let them. Some are a lot better put together than others who seem completely out of it. I think people don’t know what to do, so they turn away, ignore it, and drive on.

  2. On the real-life basis of this story, I’m also glad to say that she didn’t get run over.

    On the story aspect, though, the plot is complete; there’s a situation, a climax, and an ending. I’d like to say that there’s closure — for that moment. But what happens after? Surviving doesn’t mean that she’ll be living a “good” life. That’s what I like about this story. It’s — in a way — open-ended.

    Again, another fantastic drabble!

    • Thanks CdV! I think the hard part is that she gets up and continues begging and everyone else drives home and probably has forgotten about it (and her) by the next traffic light.

  3. I like this one, painful though it is. It was only a few weeks ago that I finally decided that, even on my meager part-time wage, I could afford to buy lunch for the homeless guy on the street. I was rather nervous about approaching him, not so much out of fear of him being dangerous (though he was certainly bigger than me) than out of fear that he’d foist upon me a sob story and use it to ask for money or a ride somewhere, or some other example of Christian charity that would take more time and investment than my comfort zone wanted but I knew my compassion might give in to. I prayed as I walked over to him, as I also wanted to find some way to offer him the Christian gospel and encouragement. But it was all much easier than I expected. He was very brief, courteous, and businesslike about it. I asked if he needed food, he said yes for him and his brother, I asked his name and shook his hand, bought him some food and drinks, he said thanks and left.

    Within a week I found myself sharing half my Subway sandwich with another beggar from my car window and talking briefly about God before the traffic light turned green. His name was also David and he laughed heartily that I shared it with him. He also knew what our name meant in Hebrew.

    Short as these interactions were, I’m kind of glad I at least got their names.

    • David — I think that’s a remarkable thing to do. I realized that I’d been thinking about the homeless earlier this past summer too (https://stevebetz.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/friday-drabble-grate/). Sadly, both of those are drawn from real world experience. I’m glad that you were able to overcome the fear of reaching out — that a random homeless person might be a “freak” or dangerous. Human kindness — treating someone with respect and interest — is a wonderful thing.

  4. Pingback: Thanksblogging « The Warden's Walk

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