Meeting in a vestibule at three in the morning, it was clearly a run from something.
The phone was on, but only just, sitting on the tile of the entryway, and plugging into the wall.
Asking if it was okay, knowing what desperation looked like, and a ruin of appetite if it wasn’t.
Leaping to feet, and startled into potential flight, by the surprise of kindness.
Smiling when it was said to be okay, a rushing inside the door, which was held open.
Walking to the table and kneeling to reach over the wall, to again plug in the phone, a lesson of what survival looks like.
Greeting the waitress, who gave a smile knowing care, and turning anxiety into compassion, asking the shiftiness to join.
Pausing to reflect on instincts, mentioning a loyalty coming, with doubts stirring.
Ordering food while the decision was made easy, as the waitress already knew what was wanted.
Sitting down at a bigger table to include space for another, an explanation of weird with a good heart, to be arriving soon.
When asking if a meal to share brought healthy attention, and with the second guessed offer becoming a cup of coffee, a friendship seeded.
Barely contained tears told everything as fine, and the suspicious hand shake a bit later, turned into expansion of the group, under calm encouragement of drying fears.
Shifting uncomfortably in the seat looking out the window, and mentioning the cops who were coming, by whispering about a plan, for calm.
The options began to fail, so with a wink and gentle breaths, a continued cutting of steak bared mellow.
“Sir, we’re going to have to ask you to leave, as the manager told us you threatened to kill him, last time you were here.”
Slowly placing the steak knife on the plate while catching the authorities eyes, picking up the water glass to fill hands, and making past them, a way.
Absently with a hint of pleading exasperation, “Really hungry and thirsty too, this sucks, hope can eat over here.”
Strange stood up, started shouting about respect, the right way to be treated, and making the way of leaving.
Returning to the shared table with deep breaths and shaking hands, waiting to pick up the knife for empathy to balance, and eating again.
Anxiety increased on the other side of the table with each bite, as the phone was gone with the bizarre loyalty of the dark street.
Sitting there talking as close friends, while the tears returned for both, we spoke of the gas needed to depart.
Each time meeting in the dark, a parked car on the side of the road, or a game of pool lost in a pack of territorial wolves circling.
A song made by a bartender who gave a free drink, the sound of an angel painted on the silence of the hoods, who listened.
Made in an oblique approach for mending a broken heart, the car driven filled with bought gas, disappears quickly, and not looking back.
The phone rings, another strange number indicating each dumped phone, it’s the voice sprinting scared.
Last time it was an enthusiastic embrace with a squeal, a relief found by departure into the night together.
The stranger on the street doubting at the window, convinced by another tank of gas from a pocket-book, and handing the tank with hose, to the floor of the car.
In a tearing of wheels around a corner, letting love leave the neighborhood, and knowing it may ring, into the early morning again.
A hope for meeting at a park with a daughter in the bright day, a car that runs great, a cab that isn’t a home, and gas money not needed.
She’s got no brakes, her interior is falling apart, the tires are bald, and she’s on the run.
Watching her dole out love for street people, each time her car as a trail, of a worsening storm.
She drives fast as a prostitute, being the daughter of a crime, she’s a dealer’s pal, a thief’s justification, and a broken heart on the throttle.
Acting as a rushing hot hope would, my judgements are stripped, so I answer the phone, and by worrying at missed calls in the night, I will continue to give money for her escapes.