"Don't just stand there, help me with this."
She pushed her paper grocery bag into the girl's hand and walked by, expecting to be followed. The girl stared after her, as if she'd never seen the lady before in her life. If she hadn't, that was only because she hadn't been paying attention. They'd stepped off that bus together, a few times each week for nearly a year.
Sascha resisted looking back to see if the girl would follow. Of course she would follow. Sascha had seen it after all, and she wasn't in the habit of doubting her visions. Not anymore. She crossed the small road heading toward her duplex. If it had been any further from the bus stop, there might have been a mutiny, the girl fighting her destiny, but she didn't.
The bus pulled away as Sascha's shoe first hit the concrete driveway, and the angle of it gave her a better view of the girl as her mouth formed the silent O of recognition. The old lady at the corner. Everyone knew she was half batty. Sascha had done nothing to disabuse them of that notion and her lack of effort paid off. The girl hurried after her.
"Miss... ummm... Miss...," the girl stuttered, trying to catch up. Sascha didn't slow down a jot. Her key was in the door before the girl got to the driveway, and she was inside before the girl got to the door. All part of the plan. She hurried through the kitchen to the hall closet, taking off her headwrap and jacket quickly.
The girl stood in the kitchen, hovering near the door when Sascha got back. She pushed the paper bag onto the small counter next to the sink and jumped back, fingering the door handle behind her though she hadn't completely shut the door.
"There's your groceries," she offered softly. "I've got to..."
"You're too skinny." Sascha cut her off, harshly. The poor girl looked positively skeletal, but she knew sympathy wouldn't get her anywhere. "I was going to cook some spaghetti today, but maybe if you shared a pizza with me, not so much would go to waste. Think you can handle that?"
Sascha ignored her and turned to the phone, dialing quickly and ordering without asking for further input. Pizza was safer than something Sascha might cook, but it all still depended on something foreign to the girl. Trust.
When she turned around the girl was still there. Good. Sascha nodded sharply and climbed into one of the two chairs at her small dining table, pushing the other out a little. Not quite an invitation.
"They call me Mama Card. You can too."