It was a warm day… not a hot day (those are coming) but still, a warm day.
Ella and I were leaving the 99 Cent store.
“Excuse me,” a voice from near the door called out as I adjust my sunglasses, “excuse me?”
I turn and see her, a middle aged woman, sitting cross legged in the two inches of shade granted her by the tiny overhang.
Seeing she has my attention, “Excuse me, do you have any spare change?”
My response is part instinct, all truth, “No, sorry, I don’t carry cash.”
“Ok, thanks anyway.”
At this point Ella notices the dog in the lady’s lap, a wiener dog with its tongue hanging out. Ella begins to make the “uff uff” sound and point in glee.
“Umm, I don’t have any change, but I have water, does your dog need water?” Leave it to my toddler to remind me to be a decent person.
“Oh yes! I am trying to save up money for water.” Whether this is true or not, the dog looks miserable.
“Ok, hang on.” I have a costco soda fountain drink cup half full of cold water. I pour another inch into Ella’s cup and then roll closer to the woman and hand her the paper cup.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you!”
“No problem,” I say backing the stroller up.
“God Bless you!”
“Oh,” I have a second of thinking I should just shut up, but I have a big mouth. “Not about God, just trying to be decent. Stay cool!” I turn the stroller (and the still “uff uff” chanting toddler) away and prepare to head down the sidewalk.
“Wait…” I glance back at her, “You don’t believe in God?”
“Nope,” I smile,try to make myself look as friendly as possible, “Have a good day”
Again, I turn and start to walk away.
I get three steps.
“Well FU*K YOU!” The cup of water hits me in the back and goes flying off into the parking lot.
I look back, she is glaring, clutching the dog to her chest, her eyes tiny needles of hate, “Yeah, you heard me, FU*K You! Hope you have fun in HELL!!!”
My 19 month old is now saying “Ohh? in a questioning tone -on the verge of tears- and my back is wet.
I take a deep breath. Pick up the empty cup, throw it away, and then walk, slowly and deliberately, away. Half way through the parking lot Ella and I sing the ABCs as I try to calm down.