At first I thought it was a mother and daughter crossing the street.
I had just exited the freeway at about 9:15 p.m. and was stopped at the light when I saw them in my headlights. I thought it was a young mother and a girl of about 6, but then I saw the older girl's face and realized she couldn't be more than 15.
They were both thin, with blonde curly hair flipping around in the breeze. The older girl grabbed the younger one's hand protectively but kindly as they crossed the street.
The little girl was skipping and twisting like little kids do, not paying attention, but her sister was wary, a little defiant-looking, watching for cars speeding up the onramp. She carried a black plastic bag and had the look of someone who was going somewhere.
They were downtown and a lot of oddballs wander around down there. Some of them aren't the kind of people you would want near your kids.
I had so many questions. Who were they and why were they out by themselves on a Monday night after nine? I could imagine many bad scenarios and not many good ones. The best I could come up with was that they had parents who had to work at night and who didn't know the kids were out running errands by themselves downtown.
I wanted to do something, but what? A lady approaches and says she wants to "help" them? That would scare them as much as anything, I thought.
It is at times like these when I am glad there is prayer. It fills that space of not knowing. I don't know what prayer does. I don't believe God answers specific requests like a barista taking frappucino orders. But I do believe in good energy and hope, and sometimes that is all there is.
****updated to add: Speaking of prayers, Midwestern Mommy just found out she has cancer. Please send her a good thought and/or a comment. She is a sweetie.