Snow flew across the room as the door swung open, bringing with it the cold Mary and Frank had just driven away with their meager cup of hot soup. A few people barked obscenities even after the door closed. Frank’s arm tightened around her as a hulking figure stared at the empty kitchen counter. Nowhere felt safe since they became homeless.

“Go away,” someone yelled, as the figure shuffled across the old linoleum floor. “There’s no food and no room for anyone else.

Even from their distant corner, Mary could see the despair in the eyes of the grime covered figure. His shoulders drooped further when empty floor space vanished as he neared. That was no way to treat anyone, especially during the holidays. Mary made space by snuggling closer to Frank. The man nodded, then squeezed against the wall, clutching his long legs in tight.

Both she and Frank had saved the crackers that came with their soup and muffin. Who knew where their next meal would come from? She pulled the two precious packages from the pocket of her threadbare jacket and handed them to the man.

“Here,” she said. “It’s not much, but you’re welcome to them.”

Tears pooled in the man’s eyes and he smiled. Mary returned the look, wishing everyone could be thankful for simple crackers. Exhausted, she and Frank drifted off to sleep. The stranger was gone when they woke. As they left the shelter, Mary discovered a large roll of cash in her pocket.

About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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