Daily Prompt: Careless Whisper

On a summer Portland morning, my dog and I stopped at a park to enjoy the grass and stare up into the branches of the great walnut and its sun-dappled leaves – well, that’s what I was doing while my dog sniffled around for exciting new aromas. We were not alone, but shared the park with a woman eating a sandwich from the Plaid Pantry down the way. My dog wandered over, of course, seeing what might be up for offers or if a lick of packaging might be necessary. I called her back, apologized to the woman, and said to my dog, “stop that now. No one likes a beggar.” As I rose to leave, I saw the woman’s backpack and sleeping bag tucked under the bushes near the park fence. She was homeless. I have never said anything so insensitive in my life and all for lack of just observing and putting two and two together before opening my mouth. (Not to imply that this kind-faced woman begs for anything, but nonetheless). I woke up for nights afterward, ashamed in the dark of what I’d said.

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