“Sorry I’m late,” the woman said with a wheeze as she set multiple plastic bags on the ground.
A loaf of white bread tried to escape from one bag and a suspiciously trumpet shaped form bulged from another. The bags overflowed with goodies and random trash she had acquired from her daily travels.
The bags surrounded the woman like a hoop skirt forming a wide base from which the rest of her slender, emaciated body emerged.
I looked at the clock on the wall, faithfully ticking forward, minute by minute; it kept track of the time that no one else minded.
The clock’s plain face and black hands represented order and social responsibility that belonged to another world, another place and definitely a different time.
“Want to reschedule?” the woman generously offered as she watch my eyes travel from the clock to my appointment book and back to the clock.
A quick mental calculation left me with approximately 12 minutes before the next person was expected to be 20 minutes late.
Sweat beaded from the edge of the woman’s scalp. Her eyes darted nervously back and forth.
She wore a purse strapped across her chest which she deftly opened with one hand and checked on the contents with a quick glance. Satisfied, she looked back at me. I assumed from the gentle and loving look in her eyes, she was caring for a baby bird and ensuring its little feathers remained unruffled.
“No,” I said, summoning the strength to be present.
“Let’s meet now.”