On a cold wintry night, a young woman sat on a bench inside a bus shelter wildly waving her arms and cursing loudly.

A group of us watched her nervously from outside.  An elderly woman in a blue coat and scarf walked right past us and straight into the bus shelter, taking a seat next to the young woman.

The young woman began jerking her body from side to side, flinging her head back and forth, her matted hair flying, mouthing angry, silent words.

The elderly woman didn’t move away; she moved closer.

She began stroking the woman’s back in small, circular waves, cooing at her softly. Slowly, the woman’s fevered jerking slowed to a stop. She slumped forward, relaxing her shoulders, letting her head fall to the side. Then she looked up and stared in wonder at the gentle stranger showing her so much love.

~ Christiane Schull

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