103 degrees was the high today. Good thing Rosa and me walked early this morning. Lunch time found us back down at the shopping center before the storms would hit. On the corner down below us was a rough looking woman. It reminded me of Rosa when I first met her. Rosa was looking the same that day she asked to "borrow" a cigarette and I asked her if she was homeless.
"Who's she?" Rosa asked, nosily.
"I've never seen her before," I replied, concerned.
She looked homeless and almost lost. Like some stray animal that wandered too far from home, she looked sad and forlorn. I noticed she was smoking a cigarette butt she had picked up out of the bushes by the dollar store. I and Rosa walked down to offer her a cigarillo.
"Cigar?" I asked as we approached her.
"Thank you," she said, shaking my hand. I noticed how calloused her hands were as if she he performed lots of manual labor.
"My name is Andrew and this is Rosa," I said, pointing to my girlfriend standing beside me.
We made small talk for awhile with Rosa doing most of the talking. The lady didn't reveal much which was smart. One of the first things I learned when homeless was to never tell anyone. That gave them a license to judge and mistreat you, and people will. We left the lady with her telling us she was walking down to the diner to get out of the heat and drink a coke. "At least she has some money," I thought.
"I've been there too many times," Rosa told me as we walked back up to the benches to sit down.
"Did you see she was smoking cigarette butts off the ground?" I asked Rosa.
"I've done that, too," Rosa said.
I shuddered to think that Rosa was once like that and suffering. I turned to her and said, "As long as I live, you will never be homeless again," and I meant it.
"I will do the same for you," she replied, grabbing my hand.
It was comforting to know us two souls were looking out for each other. I am finding we are so much alike that it is uncanny. Our experiences. Our past lives. It is almost as if we were made from the same cookie cutter, but opposites of gender. I thank my lucky stars for having found her in my life. It gives meaning to each and every day.