pretty blonde homeless girl

There's a pretty blonde young woman who waits around all day on Nicollet Mall for the women's shelter to open at 5pm.

I don't know what any of that is about. I don't know why, although they probably have some very good reasons, why the shelter doesn't let people in during the day in the cold months.

It was 24 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday in Minneapolis.

So this woman is someone I have seen when I play my street shows.

I have never spoken to her because she only comes over to me when I'm singing, especially the more poignant songs.

I don't know if she is using drugs or if she is mentally ill, maybe both.

She has a very pretty face and it's hard to understand what her situation is by looking at her.

Something must be very very wrong in her life right now.

But when she draws near for one of my songs, I see the strangest most beautiful transformation come over her. 

Her face registers every lyric, every phrase, in a bizarre and dramatic display of emotion.

I have truly never seen anything like it.

One of her favorites of my songs is "Tangled Web".

The first time I played it for her, over Thanksgiving weekend, she had come into the tent that the Downtown Improvement District has set up for people to get warm in while they're waiting for the fun sleigh to take them out to Loring Park for the holiday festival there.

I was playing a Christmas song when she wandered into the tent the first time.

She looked tired and sad and she laid down her backpack and sat down in one of the plastic chairs they have set up for people.

There are several little tables with fun games set up on them, checkers and chess, and there were other people listening and hanging around waiting for the sleigh.

It was pretty obvious that she was more troubled and wasn't participating in the festivities, she was just trying to warm up and lay her burdens down for a few minutes.

I started in on my next song saying that I wrote it myself, and she looked up at me and nodded like she thought it was a very good thing that I wrote it myself. Interesting, I thought, her taking an interest in that.

So I started in on the opening line "I probably loved you more than I let on..."

And she was listening with such a face of recognition to those words. It was as if I was speaking to her directly and she was someone who cared very much about what was being said.

The more words I sang the more engaged she became. All the words flickered across her face. Every phrase was met with appreciation and recognition. She got really emotional and lifted up her pink knitted scarf, the end with the fringe on it, and started to wipe tears from her eyes. 

By the time I got to the part about "...hold onto your faith in love 'til the day you die, it will lift you up, it will lift you up, it will lift you up higher..." she leapt from her chair and lifted her arms up to the Heavens and swayed back and forth with a beautiful smile on her face. 

I have never seen anyone connect with a song they had never heard before so dramatically in my life.

Well, yesterday she was there again.

She listened and cried and smiled and listened.

I love her.

I have no idea what will become of her, but I hope someone is helping her.

She has a lot of intelligence and feeling in that pretty face of hers and if she could harness that she could make something good in her life for herself and for others. I hope she can rise above her current situation.

Who knows who my brother encountered in his many years on the streets. I know that if he had listened to a street performer he would have shown that same flicker of passion and intelligence and that the performer would have said to themselves that this is a special guy.

When I'm out there playing music on the street, I am playing for my brother, for the spirit of hope in all of these beautiful lost souls who can hopefully be found again, in this life or in the next.

Amen.

Comments

Courtney Yasmineh December 11, 2018 @06:35 am
Thanks Jeff! I hope I get to play for her again.
Jeff Parkman December 10, 2018 @02:42 pm
Thanks for showing kindness and empathy towards this young woman. Sounds like you lifted her spirit.
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