Some nights ago I was walking down the street and I saw a young homeless woman rummaging through a bag of clothes. She had arranged some pairs of man's shoes on the sidewalk. From the situation I interpreted she had found useful things that were not for her but for someone else, and she was making that visible for someone who it might be useful.

From the corner of my eye I looked at the shoes and thought "those could fit me, but I would never dare to pick up clothes from the street". I walked less than ten meters before deciding this was a taboo that I had to break. As I turned around to speak to the woman I could hear a voice within me "oh no no no you're not going to do this" but I smiled, for this voice was the voice of conceit.

"Hello, excuse me, are you arranging the shoes like that because you are selling them or..."--"Oh no no I just found them inside this bag, I saw they were nice and thought someone might want them", she said in a mild french accent. "Oh do you mind if I try them on? I just came from Mexico with hand luggage and I only have one pair of tennis shoes".

As I tried on the shoes we chatted a bit, she said her name was Edith and she did "urban camping". It was subtle but I could read signs of mental illness, schizophrenia most likely. I don't know what took me over but I said "look I know it's difficult living on the streets. If you ever need a break, I have a spare bedroom with its own bathroom. I know it's difficult trusting a stranger but it's a safe place if you ever want to stay. I can't offer but a night here and there as a break from your situation". She thanked me and said she was doing fine, except on rainy days. On a rainy day she might take my word for it. Then she said she didn't sleep around or was with other men, which was puzzling to me at the moment, but then it dawned upon me that she thought I wanted to sleep with her, I cleared this up and we continued chatting.

From our conversation I inferred she lived in a good enough (if homeless) arrangement, her basic needs were covered, etc. "Well, what do you need at this time?" I asked her. "Homemade food" she answered, "People often buy me fast food or give me cans of food, what I miss most is homemade food". "Oh I like cooking, I can share a bit of what I cook for myself, do you have any dietary restrictions?". She told me she was a vegetarian. When she could anyways, because she would not turn down meat if gifted to her. She was apologetic, I told her not to worry. We exchanged phone numbers and I told her I would call her in a couple of days.

The shoes fit me perfectly, as well as a Calvin Klein sweater that was in the bag. I took my bounty home, knowing these to be sacred gifts, not unlike a role-playing adventurer who finds unique magical items, strangely at the beginning rather than at the end of the quest.