he called her shortly after their meeting at the food shelf.
he was excited, enthusiastic, like a little child gifted with a new toy.
he rode his bicycle and met her in a public square close to where her clay hut was located.
she observed his gestures as he spoke.
she listened to his words, the inflection of his voice as he talked about his life.
she picked up different spirits on him. poverty. self-pity and infirmity. the dominant spirit was fear. it controlled the others.
he reminded her of the men and women papa had shown her outside the homeless shelter only days earlier. it has been a set up for this moment with him.
papa had gently asked her to look into the face of each person.
“i want you to look into their faces. look into each person’s eyes.”
“each of them had a family. each of them had hopes and dreams. not one of them ever expected to find themselves here.”
tears ran down her cheeks as she looked into each face that night.
some people engaged her, meeting her gaze with their own.
others stared back with vacant eyes.
some were drug addicts. some were alcoholics. some were mentally ill. some were plagued with all those things.
all of them were tormented and suffering.
those brief encounters with these children of papa had changed her, wrecked her for good. compassion welled up in her heart.
she listened to him talk about his experiences.
she felt his pain, his abandonment, his loss.
she heard the silent questions in his heart.
he wondered what he had done to deserve the things that happened to him.
they conversed opposite each other outside on park benches until it became too cold to endure.
they began the process of saying goodnight to each other.
she walked over to him. leaning down, she gave him a light kiss on his right cheek, kissing the scar located there just above his beard.
it was tender, gentle. a kiss from heaven.
she placed her hand on his heart and asked papa to heal it.
he said he felt something warm wash over him.
it was a tingling in his heart he had never felt before.
she knew what that feeling was. she told him papa loved him.
they made plans to get together again.
(copyright 2016 jane doe)