Wednesday, 17 August 2016

About Donna



Did you ever experience something, well, inexplicable? I have. And this is one such tale.

I was on my way to work. I'd left my car in the public parking lot and was walking the remaining several blocks to the office. It was a cool October morning. So much so I could see my breath. The sidewalk was crisp and a little slippery with frost. And the leaves on the trees, where else, were a cavalcade of fall colours.

My fellow commuting pedestrians rushed by, their noses deep in their smart phones. I wondered to myself how they avoided bumping into each other. I laughingly thought maybe those things had guidance systems that warned them of oncoming people.

Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye that didn't fit with this picture. It was a ragamuffin of a little girl sitting on the sidewalk, her back pressed up the wall of an office building for support. I stopped and stared at the girl who couldn't be any more than ten years old and wondered what she was doing out on the streets at seven o'clock in the  morning.

My curiosity got the better of me and I sat down beside her. I said hello, as did she. I asked her her name and she told me Donna. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was on her own; that her mother had died in a car crash and he dad had pretty much gone to pieces and started to drink a lot. We talked for about half-an-hour and as she bent her head and stared at the sidewalk I gave her $20, even though she wasn't begging and told her to get herself some breakfast, she looked as though she could use it. She looked at me with a beatific smile and gave me a wink.

Though I travel to work along that sidewalk every day I've never seen her again. And I've looked up and down the street and around corners but no such luck. One day, after about a month of searching, I spied a gentleman across the street on a bench sipping coffee. I crossed the street, sat down on the bench and after exchanging Hellos asked if he'd ever seen a little ragamuffin of a girl sitting on the sidewalk across the street. I described her down to a "T", including her age.

"That sounds just like my Donna" said the man. "But that can't be because Donna and my wife died in a car crash fifteen years ago" he said.

I was stunned. Fifteen years? I asked him how long he'd been working across the street and he told me he had applied for the job exactly a month ago and that it was funny how, during the interview, he'd been thinking of Donna who would be 25 about now. Then he turned to me with a beatific smile and gave me a wink as he rose to cross the street.

Gamine/Ragamuffin was the prompt from Studio30+ this week. Click on the link to see what others wrote about.


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