Monica walked into the church like a tourist. She looked at the art on the ceiling, the stained-glass windows, the huge crucifix, the old wooden pews, and the altar like she was there for a brief visit. She found a seat on the right side where the bride’s family and friends were assigned to. She found a painting on the ceiling she liked but had to stop looking at it when the bride walked down the aisle in a beautiful designer wedding dress with diamonds around her neck. The perfect bride from the pages of a wedding magazine.
The groom stood in a designer suit made just for him and waited for his bride. He watched closely as the father of the bride lifted the vail off the face of his sweetheart. After the bride’s father kissed her, he went and stood next to his proud wife. They held hands just like they did when they got married in that old church thirty years ago.
Monica watched as her sister got married and wished it were she instead. She dreamt about getting married in the same church her parents did. Now all she had to do is find a mate to make it true. She dated Fred for a year before he broke up with him because he used her to get into her father’s law firm. Her father fired him after he figured it out. Fred was not the man for her, then there was Dave. He was another user, but this time it was for her money.
As her sister, Alexandra and her new husband, Kevin walked past Monica, she smiled at them; but had negative thoughts. She wanted to cry because she was lonely and depressed. Her mother saw Monica’s face change and said to her, “It will be you the next time,” and then walked away with thoughts of her own wedding.
At the reception hall there was a homeless man standing on the corner with a cardboard sign. No one noticed him except Monica. She got out of the limo and looked at him, he hobbled to a car to get a dollar. A few more dollars and he would have enough to get dinner. As she entered the reception hall the band played songs from the eighties. She tried not to think about the homeless man, but she did. She asked herself, “Why am I thinking about that man when I am celebrating Alex’s wedding?”
Monica was seated at a table with her Aunt Ginger and cousins, Nancy, and Mary. Aunt Ginger was born rich and acted rich; she had no tolerance for poor people. Nancy and Mary picked up the attitude of their mother. They avoided areas in the city because the poor and homeless were seen there. They thought everyone should have a job no matter what their disability was. They had no heart for the poor and homeless, just the rich and powerful.
After the first dance Aunt Ginger talked about making money on the stock exchange. Monica did not care what she said because the stock exchange was too risky. Mary and Nancy drank a few too many and had to be escorted to the bathroom. The limo for Aunt Ginger, Mary and Nancy took them home after Monica’s father requested it. Now it was just Monica at the table. Until a tall lean man that smelled like a liquor cabinet sat next to her and asked, “So, you’re Alex’s sister?”
Monica responded, “Yes, I am.”
“That means you are the only sister left that is not married.”
“That’s what it means,” she said as she got up and walked away from the drunk man.
He got up and followed her and said, “Would you like to dance with me?”
“No, thank-you. I am going home.”
“Can I come with you?” he winked at her.
“You need coffee, go get some before you drive home; better yet, call a cab.”
“I can get a cab to your place if you want,” he said as he slurred his words.
Monica walked away from him leaving him leaning on a table. Her Mom saw Monica talk to him and rushed over and said, “Do you know who that is?”
“I am sure you will tell me.”
“That is George Jenkins, he is a billionaire. Did he ask you out on a date?”
“He is drunk Mom! Look at him, he is going to fall anytime now. He is not for me.”
“How do you know honey; you haven’t talked to him long enough.”
“I talked to long with him…I am going home. I will call you tomorrow.”
“How are you getting home?”
“I am getting a ride from Kevin’s cousin. She lives near me.”
“Okay, it is a shame you won’t see Alex and Kevin leave.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Don’t be like that.”
Kevin’s cousin, Marta, waited for Monica at the door. When Monica got to the door a group of men picked up George Jenkins off the floor. Marta looked over at George Jenkins and said, “That’s a shame.” Monica agreed with her. He was passed out until a pitcher of water was poured over his head. The first thing he said was, “Hey, this is a designer suit!” They dragged him to a table and made him drink coffee while they called a ride for him.
In Marta’s hands was a plate of food for the homeless man that was on the corner. She spotted him at a gas station looking through trash. She pulled into the gas station and got out, handed the food to the man. He looked at the plate, lifted it up, and asked, “Is this is for me?”
Marta smiled and gave him the expensive silverware and napkins and said, “Just for you,” and then got back into the car and drove away.
Monica asked Marta, “What did you say to him?”
“I told him dinner was served.”
“That was nice of you to give him your plate of food.”
Marta looked at Monica and responded, “God told me to do that.”
“Are you saying God told you personally to give food to the beggar?”
“He is not a beggar Monica. He is down on his luck. We must take care of all, not just a select few.”
“You know he can get a job just everyone else has. He…”
“He might be mentally ill or unable to work. There are millions of reasons why he might not be able to work, but that does not mean we should not help him.”
“I guess so, but…” Monica stopped before she said something that would make her look like she was heartless, so she said, “You are right. I need to look through other eyes too before I make judgments.”
“Can I give you some advice Monica?”
“Sure, you can.”
“We must help everyone, and if you do that then you can find true peace.”
Monica thought it was her grandmother speaking for a minute and then said, “That’s what Grandma said to me.”
“She sounds like a wise woman.”
“She truly was. I miss her, I just wish I could see her one more time.”
“I feel the same way about my grandmother, but we still have memories of them.”
Marta pulled into Monica’s driveway, looked at Monica’s house, and asked, “Who lives with you in this big house?”
“Just me and my two dogs.”
Oh, do they have their own rooms?” Marta said as she laughed.
“No, they insist on sleeping with me. I usually get kicked out of bed and sleep on the couch. At least they are comfortable.”
“Do you want to go to the soup kitchen next Saturday?”
Monica did not answer right away and then she remembered her grandmother taking her to one downtown and said,
“Sure, I would love to go.”
“Give me your number and I will pick you up at eight am. We must be there early to set up and cook the meal. Wear jeans and a tee-shirt.”
Monica handed Marta a piece of paper with her phone number and said, “See you then.”
As Monica was getting out of the car Marta said, “You won’t regret it.”
When Monica got into the house her two dogs, Rex, and Milo, greeted her. She petted them and went into the kitchen to get water. As she poured the water into the glass, she thought about what Marta said about her house, being too big for one person. She walked around the four-bedroom house with a bathroom in each bedroom. The big, finished basement where the television and a favorite recliner was.
Monica sat down and said to herself, “She is right.” She fell asleep in the recliner only to be woken up by the dogs. They wanted to go out. She let them out and watched them closely so they would not go after rabbits. Milo came to the door and barked to come in, finally she had to call Rex in. As they ran through the house, she thought what if they were kids, and how happy she would be.
Monica woke up earlier than she wanted to because she could not get what Marta said out of her mind. She wondered why she obsessed over the fact the homeless man was hungry. Did he have a mental illness? She wondered if that was the reason, he was homeless. Then she thought there were ways of getting help. He was in her head, all she thought about was the fact that he went through garbage to look for food.
As she drove to work in her BMW, she noticed homeless citizens near freeway entrances and exits, on corners with cardboard signs asking for help and walked around with their belongings in bags. She did not carry money with her, she used her credit or debit card for everything she bought. She wanted to give an old woman that pushed a grocery cart with her belongings a few bucks.
When she got to the parking garage a homeless youth went through his backpack. She wanted to know what he was doing. After she parked the car, she went to him and asked, “Can I ask you a question?”
He looked up at her in her designer clothing and responded, “Sure.”
“Are you homeless?”
“Yes, after I turned sixteen, I was thrown out of my foster home by my foster parents.”
“Don’t you have any relatives?”
“No, my parent’s died in a car accident, which is what they told me anyhow.”
She wanted to sit down next to him but decided to stand instead because she had on a dress, “How long have you been in the foster program?”
“Since I was five.”
“Are you hungry?”
“I haven’t eaten in two days.”
“Come on I will treat you to breakfast at the Ham Place.”
He smiled and asked, “Are you sure…”
“My name is Monica, and you are?”
“Caleb. My name is Caleb.”
“Come on, let’s get something to eat Caleb.”
C. Marguerite Seaman has written since 1993. She is improving with every word she writes with the help from friends in the writing world. She writes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. C. Marguerite’s main is goal to publish her work in magazines, and in the future book form.