Snowsuit Closure?

My first thought was whether she was coming in on purpose or by accident.

Luckily it was just two of us in the cafe when Snowsuit Lady came in to ask for some bus fare. She prefaced it with a long story about rugs and court dates and having to get somewhere. From her expression I couldn’t tell whether she was sincere or not. Couldn’t tell if maybe she was here to retaliate, believed me to be the author of her misfortunes. She did tell me her real name and address. So I told her my name. When she wound down I asked her if she remembered me, if she remembered that her and her guy had tried to punch me in the face, to kick me in the ass.

“Was that you?” She apologized. I said that I would like to help her, that I didn’t really know how but I could help her to find organizations who did know how to help. She said she knew the organizations already. Said she was cleaned up now. Back at Church. “They put me in jail you know,” she seemed genuinely sobered by that.

I gave her the bus fare and told her that it was coming out of Sarah’s Sign Fund, that we were saving money for a sign. She apologized. I saw the hug coming but not the kiss. Wet.

Since I am an after-shock kind of person, my limbs are still shaking as I write.

Is it possible? Is it possible that just by standing your ground, telling people the truth, being sincere, that we can effect change? That life offers interesting opportunities that allow us, or others, to turn corners? I have had my doubts lately.

Has Snowsuit Lady renewed my faith?


One thought on “Snowsuit Closure?

  1. Honesty is always the best policy. Cliche, but true!

    In the interest of keeping the peace, I would have done the same thing. It would be interesting to see if she comes back for more bus money, or remembers you if she sees you on the street. The later would be a good indication that she is still “clean”, if she really is/was.

    I’ve been leery of handing out money to any kind of derelict ever since I worked at a Coffee Cart (outside, at the corner of Yonge and Queen) when I was sixteen and seventeen. Having seen first hand that my regular donation to someone living on the street (of the money I had very little of to begin with) was going directly to their alcohol habit. I hate to think of my generosity enabling their problems, and that money I wasn’t even spending on bus money, clothing or frivolous food for myself, was supporting their habit.

    Nowadays, I’m always handing out my food (for some reason I usually have food on me) which is a really good indication of whether they do need it, or are just looking for a sponsor for their “next hit”.

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