There was something wrong with the way she walked. A limp. And sort of a march. She’d raise the right leg mid-level and drag the left with her foot turned sideways. Her shoes were always untied.
She walked up and down Broadway wearing aqua colored spandex and a tight tube top. Even in winter she wore the same outfit. Makeup made her face look like a clown. Too much lipstick and rouge. Eye liner put on heavy and black. Her brunette hair came down to her shoulders. The young woman carried a small purse of turquoise with a small sign on it that said, Feed Me. Some did.
Sitting in Times Square with her hands out as people walked by in the night, or morning; she was always there; begging for money or maybe salvation. You could barely hear prayers from her mouth in Spanish; crossing herself and kissing a wooden cross around her neck. This woman had faith.
And there were times when sacrifices were made at the alter. Slices of pizza and McDonald’s laid at her feet. Food didn’t sit there too long; Mary would eat it right away; scared that someone would steal it. Always a fear that she would never have enough. I guess everyone has that fear. Kids across America stuffing themselves. Fighting over the last roll at the dinner table. I wonder if she ever fought with brothers and sisters over food. Or, had she always been alone. What was her story? No-one knew. She was just the crazy woman in Times Square begging for money, food, something. Maybe comfort? I don’t think she ever got that; not from me.