The breeze might have been nice, in the summer. She escaped into a favorite memory, imagining the sun breaking through the heavy winter clouds, visiting again the old summer resort. Warmed, she heard the steady gentle waves on the bay shore, felt the sand between her toes and tasted the saltwater air.

Hypnotized for a moment, she inhaled deeply. The icy air turned coppery in her mouth. The cold settled back into her awareness as she was confronted with the cruelty of her situation.
As she returned to the moment, the hardness of it grabbed hold of her. The sand was locked in the concrete beneath her, cemented into place to give structure to the sidewalk. What a distortion this was! Sand, whose nature was shifting, almost fluid, instead locked securely into place, unmoving. Lonely grains of sand isolated from each other and the patterns of wind and water that were the engine of their fellowship. How long would they stay here?
How long would she? Recession had become her classroom. Embarrassment and self-directed sermons of judgment had hardened her like the sidewalk. They had faded into the patterns she held fast now, the patterns of survival.

Closing her eyes, the structure of the concrete, of her day, and even the cold itself faded from her awareness into the mercy of rest as she heard the sound of metal against paper: a dull thud of something like generosity as a coin dropped into the cup in front of her. 

Written for the Envision Berlin Creative Challenge: Generosity

photo credit: Author