We could not be more different.
She in her gold bracelets and designer sunglasses.
Me in my second hand clogs and sunglasses bought for $1.69 at Building 19-1/2.
She stares straight ahead as I seat myself on her bench.
And listens politely as I describe my offer.
"My hands are not so beautiful," she says.
"Beautiful hands are not the point," I reply.
Although to me all hands are beautiful.
The worn and the cared for
the supple and the gnarled.
All reflecting the journey of our lives.
We talk of art, and we come closer.
We speak of Christo's Gates
and the beauty of multiples.
Of how dozens of flowers of a single kind can be breathtaking in its symmetry.
And how a bouquet of wildflowers brings a different joy in its diversity.
Then she speaks of her grandson's first birthday party.
With 12,000 gold balloons to welcome the guests.
And the lake and bridge that was created for them to cross over into the party.
And my mind boggles
And I can't help but think of the hundreds who might have been fed,
even just for the price of the balloons.
And yet, she receives the bowl with grace and gratitude.
"I'll have to make tea now," she says with a smile.