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  • I was walking home from CVS when I heard wooo-wooo and looked up to see Keith coming by on his motorcycle and I woo-wooed back and called out that I loved him and had barely turned back to my writing (I was working on a novel as I walked) when two women . . . or girls, as it turned out, slightly strange looking somehow, approached from across the street at an angle, calling out to me, I was afraid they might be beggars, but no, they wanted directions. They had strong accents, and were dressed just slightly differently, not something I could exactly put my finger on.

    They wanted directions to a mall. I asked if they were walking and they said they were, so I started giving them directions to the small mall associated with St. John's hospital.
  • No, no, they wanted to go to the big mall with Target and Macy's. Was it a long way? Yes, I said, pretty far to walk, I wasn't sure, a mile and a half or two or more. They looked puzzled. I wondered if they knew what a mile was, maybe they are used to kilometers. (Later, Keith told me it was six miles. They’re young, he said, they could probably do it.)

    I said I would drive them. We had to walk home first to get my car, which meant skipping stopping at Village Market, as I had planned, for shiitakes.

    One was from Spain and one from Belarus and they both staying with the same host family, two blocks away from us, who was not currently at home. They told me their names, one started with a K and one with an I (or Y). But they were long names, hard to wrap my tongue and mind around. They are students at South, a junior and a senior.
  • They asked me if I had anything important to do that driving them would interfere with and I laughed. It was kind of a snort. They looked worried. Of course, everything I have to do is important--to me--but I felt that taking those girls safely to the mall was also important. So I said, no.

    I told Keith I was taking them to the mall and I did.

    When we got there, they asked if it was dangerous, and I got a little worried. Here they were with me, a stranger. Not all strangers are safe. If they go with one stranger, me, what if they go with another whose intentions are less honorable? Oh dear.
  • I told them they should be okay if they stay together. Then I worried that I shouldn't have taken them there; that I might get in trouble for it, and what if something bad happens to them? But they were going to walk. Surely it was better to help them.

    I gave them a piece of paper torn from my errands list with our names (Keith and Mary) and our phone number and said we would come and get them if they needed a ride back if it was not too late, because we're going to a movie tonight. Much less worrisome, but what if they call for the ride in the middle of dinner or just when we're leaving to go to the movie?

    Once you tame your fox, how far does your responsibility stretch? And why can’t I stop worrying about them?
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