'Oh s***. I forgot them today,' I bemoan, looking out my window. Nick, who is sitting next to me in the passenger seat, looks at me and rolls his eyes. We are pulling out of the In-n-Out parking lot, and have spotted a homeless woman, reading Nietzsche on the grass under those infamous palm trees. 'Do we still have that Paul West book in the back seat that we found last night?' Nick looks at me, again rolling his eyes, as he answers, 'Erica, she doesn't want that book. And she does not, I repeat, does not want your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.' I don't believe him. He starts his whole Homeless People Are All Drunks Who Aren't Interested In Anything Except Booze Money spiel, but I don't hear him. I'm looking at the woman, a pang of guilt in myikjkjnjjnj eye. If he's wrong, which I am convinced he is, I have deprived her of a homemade-by-yours-truly PB&J sandwich. As we wait at the stoplight I can see her in my rearview mirror. She looks at me for a second, and she can see right through me. For that moment, I want nothing more than to get out of my car and talk to her. I want to know her story, and find out who she is. Buy her a burger maybe. It's not sandwich and it's not homemade, but it'll do. There's a reason that I never leave home without at least two Ziploc-ed and ready to go sandwiches. This is what happens. S***, I say again to myself. I forgot them today. And today is all I have with her.
February 10, 2009