by Maria Mize
This is a narrative about a lady who spends a lot of time on the street corner.
|THE LADY ON THE CORNER
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.../1/
Alice trudges along, pulling her collected possessions behind her, discreetly hidden within a black bag. Her hair is greasy and matted, a muted mix of black and gray. Her smile is wide, her cheeks rosy and her periwinkle eyes sparkle with joy. She has a kind, forgiving face easy to embrace. Her clothes are outdated and mismatched -- pink pants too short and too tight. Her sore feet are graced by a scruffy pair of sneakers. Though Alice doesn't smell like roses and is grimy for lack of a bath, she resembles a well-loved doll, a beauty aged by the passing of time.
Alice is lost in the system with no permanent address. Born with low mental capacity, her mind is stuck, not budging beyond that of an eight-year-old, and yet she is in her fifties. So, she is child-like, enabling her to enjoy the simple pleasures of innocence.
When Alice was born, her parents were already middle-aged. Both passed on within the last five years. Now, without a place to call home and without siblings, Alice wanders the streets. Most nights she stays at the rescue mission; otherwise she finds a place not too far from the street --- yet safe and out of sight.
Alice's predicament has caused her to become somewhat street savvy. She’s almost learned whom she can and cannot trust. Except the other day, when she found a man-friend, he was real nice until she found out what he really wanted. He left cursing and snarling. Last week, an old woman grabbed her locket and skittered away. A simple treasure from mom and dad is now a fond memory.
At about noon every day, Alice stands on the corner with her bag on the ground beside her, holding up a piece of brown cardboard. In scrawled black letters, her words read I’m hungry. Can you help? She earns enough to buy a burger, fries and maybe a soda, keeping hunger at bay until the rescue mission opens. As she holds her sign, she is greeted by warm friendly faces. Only a few sneeringly yell, “Get a job!” She cries less and less frequently. She is becoming accustomed to her new life.
On the day she first arrived at the mission, a kind lady asked her name.
"I'm Alice... in Wonderland..., lost down the rabbit hole and searching for home."
Smiling, the lady patted her hand.
If Alice makes it to the mission early, she receives a hot dinner, the privacy of a shower and a comfortable cot. Too often losing track of time, there is no room at the mission when she arrives.
Alice sings... songs her mama sang to her. Singing makes her happy. One afternoon she met another lady who liked to sing. They paired up, singing together for most of the day. A couple of street men laughed when passing, calling them the dynamic duet. The two singers giggled --- quite fond of the title.
Tonight, darkness and shadows slowly overtake another warm summer day. A smiling moon surrounded by a sprinkle of bright twinkling stars gleams in the darkness. Alice finds a secret place to lie down on her worn blanket amidst some bushes and trees. A gentle breeze causes the leaves to dance overhead touching ever so gently, like softly clapping hands. Looking up, Alice prays until she feels the presence of her heavenly Father; then content and at peace, she sleeps.
Word count: 572
/1/ His Eye Is On the Sparrow, written by Civilla D. Martin (1905), music by Charles H. Gabriel.
(See also, Matthew 6:16; Matthew 10:29-31 KJV Bible)