It was a Christmas to forget. That was what Daniella continued to tell herself as she sat on the cold metal bench outside the bus stop. Her hands were clutching her purse. It was something she did was when was nervous. It was cold outside but she was stubborn. She was not going to go inside and try to look inconspicuous. She had higher standards then that.
Daniella shivered and remembered the old saying that when you shiver someone is walking over your grave. She smiled at the morbidity of the thought but then frowned. It was her mother who had told her this. She did not want to remember her mother right now but her mind, empty of thoughts, was brought back to her more happy times.
She was so caught up in trying to forget her memory that she did not notice a man sitting next to her. She looked over and couldn't help but create a stereotypical opinion of him. He looked to be in his forties with thinning gray hair and a thick beard. His beard was dark brown with strands of white and gray throughout. He was wearing a dark blue winter coat that had salt stains on the arms. She glanced down and saw dark pants with big brown boots. He had no hat or mitts.
"It's cold outside isn't it?"
Daniella was surprised he had started a conversation. Once she got over her opinion that he was homeless, dirty, and not someone she wanted to associate herself with, she realized that she too looked homeless, dirty, and what hurt the most was the fact that she was someone who would have scowled had she walked past what she looked like now.
"Yeah it is."
"Why aren't you inside? I mean I'm assuming you're waiting for a bus."
"I don't know."
Daniella's voice was quiet and reserved. She did not even sound like herself. It scared her so much she took a deep breath, needing to calm down.
"That's interesting. You seem to have a story behind your current situation. Want to share?"
Daniella wasn't sure why she felt so comfortable with this strange man. She didn't know who he was but it was her desperation that caused her to begin to talk.
"I'm moving away. I have to. I was such an idiot. I hate myself. I thought when I told my mom she'd be supportive. She freaked. I'm sure the whole neighborhood heard her screaming at me. I'm not wanted. It's that simple."
"She's just upset because she tried so hard to make sure you didn't make the same mistake she made. You know that right?"
Daniella stopped talking. How did he know that her mom had gotten pregnant at the exact same age as she was now? Was he just good at guessing? She took a deep breath and waited. She saw out of the corner of her eye a slight movement and then moved her head. He had shifted to face her.
"If I told you Ellie that I have seen the future and that the decision you make in the next few minutes will change what happens would you believe me?"
The young scared woman clutching her hands could not speak as the stranger spoke to her, using the nickname her family used.
"Your bus will arrive in five minutes. If you get on you will travel to Atlanta. You will live on the streets and end up in a bad situation that involves you losing your baby. You will never contact your family and they will assume you have died."
Daniella was crying now. He man's voice was quiet and stern and she pictured in her head the exact scene he was describing.
"If you choose to go home you will carry the baby to term. He'll be born on a hot summer night. It will be painful but your choice to give him up will be worth it."
"Do I get to pick out his name?"
"Yes. It was the only thing you wanted."
The wheels of the bus made a crunching sound and Daniella realized that this was her breaking point. She could only make one choice at this moment and the man, whom she didn't even know his name, had convinced her of the correct decision. She sat in silence next to the man until the passengers got on the bus and then drove away. It was surprising how many people were going home on Christmas Eve. She knew that every one of them had a family to go to and she wondered if this man had anywhere to go.
"Do you have somewhere to go tonight? Do you need any help?"
"No Ellie. I'll be fine. Thank you. You need to go home."
Daniella nodded and got up. It wasn't until she was ten steps from the bench that she turned around.
"What's your name?"
"Andrew, Drew for short."
"Have a Merry Christmas Drew."
The wind had picked up and so she didn't hear he last words he spoke. She walked down the street, clearing her mind of thoughts. I wasn't until later she would realize what her last thought meant. Daniella heard the name Andrew and thought to herself that if she ever had a son that she would choose that name.
Drew watched as the young woman marched through the cold towards her house. It was a blessing that he was able to do this but in reality it was what was necessary. She needed guidance and sometimes we only listen to those that are closest to us.
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