Though in the eyes of most that was only to be expected really. A homeless shelter, in the middle of one of the world's largest cities, was not generally the type of place one would go looking for happiness. Of course, happiness wasn't exactly what Sally was looking for. She had hoped that eventually it would come to her, providing of course if she could last that long.
Rolling onto her back, she stared up at the ceiling. Examining yet again the flecks of paint that were peeling off in various sizes. At least it momentarily took her mind off the mattress springs ends that were poking into her. Surely she was wrong. Surely this was not what the psychic meant.
Part of Sally still didn't want to believe there was any truth in what she said. But since the psychic had gone out of her way to get Sally's attention, she thought that maybe there was some possibility she knew what she was talking about.
Sally had been walking down the street on her way home from another tiring day at work, when Celia the psychic called out to her, “What you are looking for will be caught on the corner of 53rd and Smith.” At first Sally thought she was talking to someone else and kept on walking. It was only after Celia called it out again, this time adding, “I am talking to you Sally Robinson” that Sally paid her any attention. “You heard me” was all the old woman would say. Her scratchy voice sending shivers down Sally's spine. Even just thinking about it now Sally could feel the hairs on her arm begin to rise.
Sitting up and swinging her legs over the side of her little bed, she wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed her hands along her arms. Perhaps the shivers were due the chilling winds that seemed to be gusting through the shelter. Unlike most people there, Sally didn't have the minimum of four cloth layers to keep her warm. When she first walked through the door, she hadn't expected to be staying long and therefore had not really dressed for the occasion.
After years of blindly walking past the crazy old woman and wishing she would take her crystal ball sideshow to some other pavement, Celia was all that consumed Sally's thoughts. The moment Sally had wished to talk to Celia and find out what she meant, she was gone. Disappeared into thin air. Sally had spent nearly two days waiting for her return but it was not to be, the self professing fortune teller was no where to be seen.
In the days after her encounter with Celia, Sally had gotten little sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she was haunted by the woman's words. After a week, Sally relented and headed to the corner of 53rd and Smith. It wasn't like she had anything to lose...or so she thought.
Being unfamiliar with that side of town, it took Sally a while to find the corner in question. Once there she was sure she had it wrong. Being some what uppity and well to-do Sally had become accustomed to judging a book by it's cover.
Staring at the dilapidated old building she read the shabby sign above the door.
Hamilton Homeless Shelter. Helping you catch life again.
As she began to enter through the door, she was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell of fish. In an instant she felt like she had been swept backed to her childhood. Where as a little girl she would sit and help her father mend his fishing net, ready for the next day's catch. It was only a vague memory, her father had apparently died at sea when she was still only very young. Sally had always questioned the reality of his death.
Before she had a chance to recall any more, she was engulfed by the arms of a stranger. A bubbly little man who would have looked right at home standing amongst a group of dwarfs.
“Welcome, welcome” he gushed as he ushered her in and guided her to the where she now found herself. Where she seemed unable to escape from. As much as she despised the shelter and the wretched souls she shared it with she could not bring herself to leave. It was the first time in years she felt connected to her father and it was a connection she was not yet ready to break.
It had been nearly twenty years since she had last seen or heard from her father. Yet sitting there on the shelter bed she felt close to him. At first she thought it was just the smell from the fresh fish shop next door or the fishing nets hung up in the windows as curtains. But there was something else as well. Some niggling little thought that maybe, just maybe Celia was right.
Hearing the front door open Sally stood up and tidy herself up a little. Perhaps this time it would be him.
Oh, wow! This story has completely captivated me.I look forward to reading the next installment!ReplyDelete