Pregnant and homeless01/11/2012 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Everything else | 7 Comments
Tags: free-writing challenge, homeless couple, just write, pregnant woman
I could tell by the way she was sitting.
Criss-cross-applesauce, as Lily call is, slouching forward, arms linked underneath her belly. Perched on the grassy hill behind a man (her baby’s father?), who held a sign.
It had too many words. All I could make out as I turned the corner into the Target parking lot were “pregnant” and “homeless.”
My heart in my throat, I reflexively glanced into my rearview mirror. There sat my girls, healthy, happy, warm, well-fed.
I loaded them into the shopping cart — Sophie up top and Lily in the big basket below. They love this. Constantly trying to see and touch each other. We stopped at the dollar bins first so Lily could choose her prize for successfully sitting through her very first visit to the dentist earlier that morning. Once she spotted the sparkly tiara, it was all over.
“Mommy, please take it out of the bag … please, puh-leeeeease!”
I let her wear it immediately, explaining that we’d keep the bag so that the cashier could ring it up when we check out. Lord knows I don’t want my daughter thinking she can walk into a store, take something out of the packaging and keep it without paying for it. This kind of stuff constantly flashes through my mind.
A birthday card for my grandmother, a little ceramic birdie for Sophie’s room (because it’s Target and I always go off-list), gummy bear vitamins, toilet paper.
And something for the woman sitting on the corner outside.
I grab a big bottle of prenatal vitamins and a $10 gift card. That way, they have to at least come inside and get warm, I think to myself. And they can’t buy drugs with it. Or liquor.
Walking across the parking lot to my car, I stand on tip-toe to see if they’re still there. I can’t quite tell.
I load up the girls, stuff our bags into the back of the car and dispense of the shopping cart. As I get closer to the corner, I can tell.
I drive the long way out of the shopping center, along a back road they might be walking.
I wish I’d rolled down the window and said to wait. Or at least gestured that I’d be right back. My gift wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing.
Because I simply can’t imagine being pregnant and homeless.