red candle

One of the members of On Our Own brought me a candle.

He usually rushes in at 5:15, a regular with whom I worked on job applications. He was applying and filling out a tedious 14 page job application to be a seafood clerk. We usually completed 4 pages before he lost focus or told me a story or his ride came.

This particularly warm Thursday, everyone was sleeping as an old western came on TV. I smiled as the man heroically saved the woman from plunging 500 feet to her death in the rapids on television. The program ended and Makia talked about her adventures, in Spanish so we could practice fluency. I waited patiently to be a resource if anyone needed it, but this evening everyone just needed a place to sleep for a bit.

At 5:30, the door opened and my friend came in looking frazzled. He said he had rushed to be here and wanted to work more on his application. He then pulled two candles out of his backpack to give to us as thanks for helping him. I was touched he had remembered the time, because he had promised he would try hard to stick to his appointments, and that he had thought to bring us little trinkets. He insisted we keep the candles and sheepishly moved his eyes back to the computer screen.

That candle burns in my apartment this week to remind me how fortunate I am to be warm and inside my apartment. Keep the hope alive :)

Lauren Mims is a third-year English and Psychology student at the University of Virginia. She is from Fairfax, Virginia and volunteers at Madison House in the On Our Own program.

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