Cross the Street
by Marie Vibbert
I was on the sofa, wallowing in self-pity and blankets, when my sister answered the door.
“Sadie, honey,” old Mr. Smith said from the hallway, “I beg your pardon. So sorry for your loss, again, but are you going to cross the street soon? It’s just that I haven’t had anything to eat since Thursday.”
Now, I was sitting in the exact same spot the day before when Sadie gave him a can of beans after he said the exact same words, but Sadie just smiled and spoke receptionist-polite to him. “I’ll have to ask my momma, Mr. Smith, but I’m sure it’ll be soon.”
“Bless you,” he said, and I saw her take a wrinkled paper from him and tuck it in her back pocket. Chances were it had a dozen items written on it and not enough dollars by half folded inside. We’d have to guess where to cut it off to have some money for our fee, and he’d complain like he’d paid enough for twice as much. And then bless us.
Mr. Smith raised his wrinkled old chin and, in a voice of practiced outrage, said, “Cars should stop for people. We made them, not the other way around.”