FRANKLIN DAMON ROBERTS SAT at one of the many long tables at the Canon City Homeless Shelter and cupped his steaming bowl of oatmeal with his tattered wool gloves hoping to thaw his frozen hands. His body was still chilled “to the bone” after a long, restless night in his cardboard box under the bridge. But tonight would be different. His name was on the list for a bed in the shelter.
“Good morning, Frank.” Her bright, optimistic voice shocked him out of his numbing funk. It was coming from a world he was no longer a part of. He was part of a world where survival was the only tenant. Judy lived in the civilized world he had left behind five years before.
Frank looked up slowly and blinked to focus on the pretty face of the happy, thirty-ish woman whose innocence and sincerity drew him out like an electric connection to his past, to a time when he was a part of her world. He managed a smile and a nod.
Judy reached over and touched his wrist. “You look like you’re freezing.”
Judy smiled brightly. “Oh, you have more than a bed tonight, Frank!”
Frank frowned. He never knew what to expect from his favorite shelter volunteer. She had always treated him with a bright smile and an encouraging word. He braced for one of her optimistic phrases. She had always treated him as an equal, not some hopeless, homeless person to be pitied. In reality, she had not treated him markedly different from others, but had always made him feel like her special friend.
Her exuberant voice framed in an air of sophistication, breeding, and education drew him out of his trance. “I have wonderful news to share with you.” She patted his wrist and looked deep into his eyes.
“There is an opening at St. Jude Methodist Retirement Home and they have accepted your application.”
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