By K. A. Williams
The young woman dressed in a tee shirt and blue jeans was talking with an elderly man outside the grocery store as I walked toward it through the parking lot. After the man went inside the store, the woman turned her attention to me.
“Excuse me ma’am, could you help me?” She pointed at the bus stop sign on the road in front of the parking lot. “My bus comes in a half hour and I don’t have enough money for the fare.” I gave her some money and she thanked me.
I was in the grocery store a long time because they’d rearranged everything since I’d been in there last. I had trouble finding items and grew tired of asking people who worked there which aisle something was on. Finally I decided to hunt for everything myself. There was a long line at the check-out and I glanced through some of the tabloids while I was standing there.
So it was well over a half hour later when I finally left the store and the young woman was still standing at the entrance now talking to an elderly woman. She didn’t meet my gaze as I pushed the shopping cart past her and the woman who was now handing her money. Maybe her bus was running late and bus fare was higher than I thought it was.
The next day at the pharmacy while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled, I stepped outside. A green car approached and a woman with silver hoop earrings rolled down her window. “Excuse me ma’am, could you help me? My father is in the hospital in Monroe and I don’t have enough money to buy gas to get there. Could you spare a few dollars?”
I handed her a five and she thanked me. Then I watched as her car passed the gas station in the parking lot and the gas station on the corner and kept going in the opposite direction from the highway sign that read ‘Monroe – 20 miles.’
I left the pharmacy and went to the mall where I shopped with five dollars less than I had that morning. While I was throwing my bags in the trunk, I noticed a woman carrying a small dog whose fur was the same yellow color as her hair. She was heading fast in my direction, but I didn’t think she wasn’t going to ask me if the dog was mine because I could see it clearly.
“Excuse me ma’am!” she yelled as I hurriedly got inside my car. She waved frantically at me and quickened her pace as I started the ignition and pulled out of the parking space. I could still see her waving at me in the rear view mirror as I left the parking lot.
Was I sorry I hadn’t stayed to listen to yet another tall tale invented to separate me from my money? Not one bit. Now I know why my mother always said, “Never Talk To Strangers.”