Getting dressed for school on this rainy cold Monday, Allie was drawn to the scarf hanging on the antique coat rack tucked in the corner of her small room. She had to dig it out from underneath rarely touched hats and too many bags, but she felt compelled to wear the knitted scarf today as soon as she saw its tattered edges hanging beneath her worn denim jacket, as if it called to her. Maybe she wanted it to shield her from the January chill, or maybe for those other reasons that happened when she wore it. Who knew that this Goodwill treasure would have such an impact?
Her mom was at the hospital working the early shift, so Allie filled her water bottle, grabbed a pop tart and her book bag and headed out to the bus stop, tossing the tail end of the scarf over her shoulder. As she walked down her apartment building stairs, she saw Mrs. Roberts with Josie. With one look at the angry bruise on Mrs. Roberts face, Allie knew the night had been rough for her. She was gripping the baby just a little too tightly than what was natural, and Allie knew the fear was doing that.
“Mrs. Roberts, let me take Josie to the bus. Mine is just a few minutes after hers so I’ll be there until she gets on,” Allie spoke up.
“Ummm, Allie. Thanks. I’ve got her, though,” she answered, her voice rough and ragged.
“Really, I don’t mind,” Allie responded, and to her own surprise, she reached out and placed her hand on Mrs. Roberts’ arm, looking her in the eye. “It will be okay, but you need to do some things now. I’ve got Josie. I’ll get her on the bus.”
Looking a little bewildered, Mrs. Roberts relented with a brave and newly determined sigh. “You’re right, I do. I guess I need to go ahead and do it,” She didn’t have to say thank you because Allie saw the thanks in the woman’s red rimmed eyes.
Allie took Josie’s hand, noticing how thin it was. Slowly the small hand’s grip tightened around Allie’s hand, and then held on as if Allie were all she had.