sidewalk friendship

She looked me in the eye and smiled, then bowed her head low again. Her chin touched the cardboard sign braced against her knees as she sat on the hot concrete sidewalk at the corner of sw Tenth and sw Burnside, directly in front of Powell’s City of Books. Her weather worn skin betrayed hardships far exceeding what might be expected of one so young, surely in her early twenties. 

My heart went out to her immediately, weaving its way through tourists searching for one more trinket, book lovers juggling triple lattes and stacks of their latest finds, and others simply intent on ignoring her. But I couldn’t. How could I? 
She hails from Florida, having been here for about one month. She has hopes, dreams…but we can only learn of them by listening. So listen I did, despite the snide looks of passersby and condescending sighs. 

Just another day of making a new friend. A good day. A satisfying one because it reached beyond the external and touched my heart, and hopefully hers, too.

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