Evan stepped off the bus and hadn’t made it five yards before he saw her. Another bag lady. It was a recurring theme in his life, and one he had often pondered the meaning of. It had started from a very early age. His family had moved several times when he was growing up, and in every city there always seemed to be a bag lady that he saw on a regular basis. Over time he became convinced that it was somehow the same woman everywhere he went, but of course that was ridiculous. It wasn’t that there weren’t homeless people of both sexes and various ages everywhere they lived, it was just that there always seemed to be a particular woman that caught his eye.
He reached in his pocket as he approached where she squatted on the filthy concrete and pulled a note out of his pocket. He stopped and bent down and dropped it in her dilapidated paper cup and wished her luck. As with all the others she said nothing, merely smiled at him and then turned away as though it were painful for her to acknowledge him. He lingered a moment longer, feeling the urge to say something more, then thought better of it. He hurried along the street and then into the office building where he worked.
Despite his busy day his mind wandered back to homeless woman several times, and to the many others he had encountered over the years. He idly wondered if they were some sort of lesson the universe was trying to teach him. Each time he pushed the thought out of his mind and continued with the job at hand.
At the end of the workday he headed out for drinks with some workmates, as was their habit. As they walked down the street talking he saw the homeless woman again. On impulse he ducked into a fast food place they were passsing, telling his friends he’d catch up with them, and bought a sandwich and some chips. He came back out and took it to the woman and gave it to her without a word. She accepted it hesitantly and smiled at him shyly, putting the food to one side. He decided she didn’t want to eat it in front of him and continued on his way.
His friends were waiting for him at the corner and chided him good naturedly about what they had seen him do.
Mark couldn’t resist razzing him. “Hey, Evan, what’s up with that? You got a thing for bag ladies now?”
“Nah, man, it’s just…I don’t know. It was just an impulse I guess.”
“You gotta watch out for impluses pal, they’ll get you in trouble,” Alan said with a chuckle.
They looked at him oddly, a couple of them giving each other sidelong glances and then they continued on their way. The rest of the evening went by without incident and the bag lady was forgotten in the revelry that followed. Forgotten, that is, by everyone but Evan, who couldn’t seem to stop thinking about her. There was something he couldn’t quite put his finger on, and that sort of thing always bothered him.
That night he had a vivid dream.
Part 2 tomorrow