the kindness of strangers


bird_in_handI am out —

On my balcony last night having a smoke. It is pretty late, the bars are closing up and things are quieting down.

This girl comes down the path. She is dressed real pretty, in a skirt with sequins on it that flutter under the pale street light. She has long dark hair and bare arms and looks cold and is moving very slow.

I think, uh oh. This path is not really the place to be this late on Saturday night alone incapacitated if you are a girl. As she gets closer I realize it’s not that she’s really drunk. She’s clutching very high heels and walking barefoot, I do not know for how long, but her feet clearly really hurt. And she’s really lost. And she’s also clutching a cell phone whispering into it. And then she sees me.

She hands the phone up to me on the balcony and I talk to her friend and find out where she is supposed to be and take her through the building paths to where she needs to go.

When we can see her friends up ahead she says, Max, you are an angel of mercy.

I laugh and say, No, this is the kindness of strangers. Everyone gets it and the only rule is you pass it on.

And she says, No, you don’t know it, but you are an angel.

Then her friends gather her up into safety and take her away and I go back to my balcony and finish my smoke.

I probably did look like an angel to her. I was in all oversized white and I have almost white blonde hair and the balcony is several feet off the ground so there I was, pale with pale hair all in white hovering off the ground when she was lost in the dark.


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