I sat outside a coffee shop on callous, stony concrete hoping someone would give me something, anything; money, food, a coffee, kindness. It was bitter and my fingers were understandably numb.
Men in unyielding suits talked on their phones and held doors for people completely capable of opening them on their own. I watched women with big hair chatter and chide, wrinkle their noses and throw half full cups into the trash as they skipped away.
Not one looked at me.
I cupped my hands around my mouth and savored the small touch of warmth my breath provided. It was getting colder and my muscles stiffened. I sat on, unable to think of much else other than where I’d be in a few hours.
“Could you hang on to my dog?” My body tightened at the unexpected voice.
I looked at the little curly haired dog and then up at the little curly haired boy.
“I need to grab something real quick and he can’t run super fast, so if you could just hold him for me…”
“No problem,” I agreed, not sure what choice I had as the little guy ran off without really waiting for an answer.
The dog climbed up onto my lap, his belly like a hot water bottle and his sandy fur a warm coat. He stretched upwards and licked my face with a soft, velvety tongue. I felt myself loosen a little, a pulled elastic slipping back into its natural state after being stretched to the max.
The very next person to come out handed me a five-dollar bill. “Say no to drugs.” he laughed, half serious, the next; a cup of steaming coffee and a couple of toonies. “Cute pup’” she said. “Buy him a treat,” she added, smiling.
By the time the boy returned, I’d had a sandwich, a conversation and the shake of a hand.
“Hey thanks for watching Jack,’ he said. “It would’ve taken me way longer with him.”
He handed me a somewhat grizzly sleeping bag and a greyish pillow. “Here, they’re yours.” He told me.
“What? No,” I said, shocked. “Where did you get these?”
“I gotta go,” he said, grabbing the dog. “I can come back tomorrow though,” he offered. “People are way more generous when Jack’s around.”
He took off so quickly that I barely had time to notice his dirty fingernails and his hoodie full of holes, Jack effortlessly keeping up alongside him.
Copyright © 2013 The Wrought Writer