The lady did not wear mittens on this blistery cold day. Her fingers became red. She blew on them once, twice and then again. Her mittens were tucked way inside her pockets. They were full of holes with hardly any wool left to hold them together. Rather than risk anyone seeing the tale of her predicament she risked the cold without them. She was clearly being shown how her pride could be detrimental. By now her fingernails had turned to an ugly shade of blue.
She presently stood at the street corner, rather than warming herself over the building’s heat register. The store manager had sent the police to physically remove her from that warm spot. That is where she had stayed every winter for the past six years, on that heat register next to the store. It was the best heat register in this part of downtown. It was her home. She knew no other place but this familiar spot.
“The store is under new management” said the police.
“I have no choice but to follow orders or risk my job,” He told her.
Returning to his post inside the entrance of the store, the police had a clear view of the lady’s face standing there at the corner. Hour after hour he saw how lost and cold she was.
At the end of his workday, the police found the lady resting against an inner wall, between the store and the building next to it. He handed her a huge bag. Wishing her a good night, he mentioned he was going home for the night.
Upon opening the bag, the lady took out a brand new pair of mittens, a snow Arctic sleeping bag, miscellaneous food provisions and a brand new $20 bill! In the bottom of the bag she spotted a lottery ticket.
She snuggled inside the sleeping bag, munching on some of the supplies. Shortly thereafter, all cozy and warm, she dozed off to sleep.
A week later, rummaging through the bag she noticed the forgotten lottery ticket. Out of curiosity, she walked over to the lottery stand. The ticket in the bag had won the second prize of $50,000! She had no idea what to do with this much money. She had never had anything like it before.
The booth attendant directed her to a prestigious building a few blocks away to confirm her win. The ticket was confirmed as the winning number.
“How would you like your winnings Madame?” the clerk asked.
“Could you place it in a brown paper bag please.” she said.
She had no idea what a person did with all this money. Everything she needed was at that spot against the wall between the store and the other building.
That same evening, she secretly followed the police as he returned home for the night. After he entered his house she waited a few minutes. Without being seen she walked over to his door, opened the mail slot and dropped the brown paper bag inside.
With a happy heart, returning to her spot, right there between the walls of the two buildings, she snuggled into her Arctic sleeping bag.
With no cares or need, satisfied, cozy and warm she slept like a baby.
Hélène Vaillant © Short Stories