Linda Alessi: A desperate encounter

Linda Alessi • Sep 21, 2018 at 8:24 PM

Behind her the noise escalated.  She was walking through the tunnel passageway from her office to the parking lot where her car awaited her. She heard the rustling of paper, the shuffling of feet and the slow breathing of someone or something behind her.

Was it imagination or reality? Her senses were acutely aware of a malodorous scent that began to permeate the area. She hastened her step and drew labored breaths as she continued through the dark and damp tunnel.

She had taken this route every day since she worked at the Global Science office for the past two years. She had never experienced any abnormality in the trek at any time, until today. Should she swing around and see what or who was following her? Or should she just move on to her car with a few dozen steps?

She hastened her step and brought her shoulders to an erect position, mostly to show strength and convince her she was not afraid of what now seemed to be surrounding her space. Seconds were tantamount to minutes or more when she approached her vehicle and had the courage to turn and look at what was quickly at her side.

She looked at the figure that stood before her and who asked gently and humbly for a handout. I did not want to frighten you, but I could tell you were apprehensive. I apologize for my bad odor and soiled clothing, but I have not had a meal or a bath for many weeks. I have not worked for the past several months. I have lost my family, friends and home. I have tried to get work but have had no luck.

She looked him straight in the eye, and she was aware of human suffering and most importantly of her own humanity, which compassionately was eager to aid him. She rustled through her purse and handed him $20 she had. She wished him well, and he took the gift. He wished her God’s blessing and walked away.

She drove away feeling the necessity to move in a direction to help the unfortunate people who are unable to climb out of the misery of a difficult situation. Her thoughts turned to how many people were left in circumstances not unlike this man who needed help through a difficult period of life.  

Many of us are fortunate to eat regularly, keep warm in winter and be surrounded by those who love and care for us. Not everyone is so lucky.

Linda Alessi is a weekly columnist for The Lebanon Democrat.

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