"Oh, sorry," she said. "I was talking to myself.
I turned and smiled. "I didn't hear a thing."
And this is true. I'd just come out of the bathroom and was thinking about how little I enjoy where I sleep, though I do get better sleep these days and how much I hate washing the dishes, how much time is spent cleaning the plates other people eat off of.
A lot of thoughts... none of them concerning whatever was going on inside of the mind of the threadbare, overly perfumed middle-aged woman in the hallway.
"Mister, can I talk to you?"
And sure, she could. In fact, uttering those words is the easiest way to get me to listen to whatever you have to say.
In the span of a couple of minutes, she explained the reason for her black eye --a fight with an apparently occasional boyfriend she'd known since she was a kid --and her desire to donate her hair to a charity supporting women who have breast cancer.
"I don't have any money," she said.
"You need money to donate hair?"
"I need money for the haircut."
And that thought never occurred to me.
Her mother, she told me survived breast cancer and now her sister was fighting it, but because of the fight with the guy, she'd been off of work for a while. There was no money to pay for the haircut.
So, I told her I'd help --not today, not right now, but she wasn't looking for a hand-out precisely --well, maybe she was. I gave her my card and told her to call me Tuesday. I'll have cash then.