Lilla sat in a doorway on the side of St. Zita’s shivering. An hour earlier she had been turned down at the shelter; a city ordinance imposed shelter maximums; she along with twenty others had the door closed on them. It was a three block walk to Zita’s; the spitting snow combined with mist to create a mush along the street thus quickly filling her toeless shoes with water.
She gathered up her belongings around her and tried to warm her feet with her coat. She had a rusted paperclip for a button. Cars began to pull up and let off passengers. Christmas eve Mass.
“You can’t stay here.” A voice woke Lilla.
She was used to admonishment and expected to have her body pushed into the street. She tried to reach for her bag.
“I have your bag, come with me, I have a cot you can use tonight.”
Lilla followed. Why argue with warmth. Inside the door was a small storage room with a cot set up. Lilly sat down on the cot and looked for the man. He wasn’t there. “Oh, well, nice of him.”
She slept soundly. The next morning she awoke and stepped outside of the room, the door closed behind her. She sat down on the curb and rubbed her face. “Oh, my bag”. She turned to go back to the room, but there was no door.
“Lilla? Is that you?” Her sister embraced her. “I looked everywhere for you.”
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