Three for $10
Newports and sundresses. My friendship with a homeless woman.
Illustration by Alabaster Pizzo
She was sitting on a city bench, alone. Rihanna’s “Diamonds” was playing from a small boombox next to her. She wore a straw sunhat that reminded me of The Beverly Hillbillies and a black bra over a black body suit. Her left breast was slipping out from its cup, but she wasn’t aware. She was black and probably in her fifties. She wore a hospital bracelet on her wrist with a picture of her face on it.
I walked past her at first, $20 in ones and fives in my back pocket. I was going to get lunch, looking for homeless people who were begging for money. When I looked back at her, we made eye contact.
One look. That’s all it took.
“I had a concussion,” she said, pointing to her wristband. A cigarette was smoking itself in her fingers.
I moved toward her. She mumbled something about her wallet being stolen.
I gave her a five-dollar bill, something I do rarely. A buck is about as much as I’ll give to strangers, but when I do it’s usually a heartwarming experience—for …