I keep my composure after she attempts to hold my hand. I tuck my fingers in my pocket and let out an awkward laugh.
“Sorry, I don’t hold hand with strangers, but how’s life?” I shoot the elephant down.
She picks up her pace and walks towards a black pickup truck. She cups her hands around her eyes and peers inside the driver’s side window.
“Andrew Grey, Andrew Grey,” she murmurs, “Andrew Grey.”
“Who’s Andrew Grey?” I ask.
She glares at me, a piercing look as though I am incapable of comprehending her response. We settle down on the edge of a sidewalk.
“Andrew Grey,” she wades into the conversation, “raped me and the last thing I heard of him was his head being blown off in a black pickup truck.”
I feel so utterly shocked I think my face is burning. I am only 18, what did I know about rape and murder? The only person I’ve counseled and listened to was an irregularly-scheduled and informal meetup with my best friend who cried about her ex-boyfriends. I was unqualified for this chat, and too naive to back out.
God what should I say?!?! I prayed silently in my head while this lady continued to become transparent with a stranger and share her gloom.
Tell her that God loves her.
“Hey, I want to let you know,” I said, “that God loves you.”
“Who’s God?” she retorted. Her breath smelled like a motley crew of dark liquors, red wines and cheap beers.
“Do you know the Good News?”
“No, what’s that?”