When I was living in my first apartment, going to the laundromat was a new experience. There was always a very young girl there, seven or eight years old at the most, who begged for quarters for the machines. (Yes, back then, the washers and dryers took quarters. ) She had short, mousy brown hair, with bangs that framed her huge blue eyes. Eyes that were pools of suffering.
Early in the month of October, I started seeing the girl all around the plaza (there was a supermarket, a drugstore, and other small retail establishments in addition to the laundromat) and other places in the neighborhood. She carried a Trick or Treat for UNICEF box. The misery in her eyes broke my heart. She used the UNICEF box until Thanksgiving.
Maybe her parents/guardians didn’t force her into begging for money–and you know whatever she collected in the UNICEF box didn’t go to the United Nations Children’s Fund–but my heart tells me they did. And she hated it.
I sometimes wonder what happened to her.