Someone I Used to Know
I had just bought a brand new pair of black leather Timberland work books for my security job, or at
least I had bought them the week before, and while on patrol this particular night I had to chase after
a punk that I caught vandalizing a van. I yelled at him and when he saw the uniform he bolted. I gave
chase and as it happened, the chase took me through an empty lot that was still wet and sloppy from
a rain storm that had pelted us the previous night. My new, spit shined boots were no longer
regulation, neither was my uniform. Anyway, I slipped in the mud and the vandal got away. There I was,
two more hours before my shift ended, standing in an empty lot, staring into the darkness, drenched in
mud, asking myself if it was really worth it. The worse part about it was that I had to wear these muddy
clothes for those last two hours. I also had a report to write. I took a deep breath and headed back to
the vandalized van. I took photographs, noted the time, called the police and the owner of the vehicle. I
wrote up the incident report, got a copy of the police report so if it went to court I would have
documentation and called my boss. At any time during a shift, if there is any type of incident, especially
one where the police, ambulance or fire department has to be notified, we have to let our boss know
about it. I called him, related the particulars of the incident and he said he'd be out in about an hour to
read over my report.
By the time I finished my last round and unlocked the outer doors and opened up the weight room and
sauna, my boss was on site. He read over my report and gave his approval. He then looked me over and
after seeing my muddy boots and uniform he laughed. "You look like hell." He smirked. "I hope the other
guy is dirtier than you." I grinned at him. "How do you think I got so dirty?" I asked. "He was kicking up
so much mud I thought we were in a mud bogging competition."
He smiled and shook his head. "Why don't you go on home, I'll stay until your relief gets here?" I
thanked him and turned to leave. "Hey," I turned back. He nodded towards my boots. "Make sure those
boots are clean before your shift tonight."
I saluted him, then turned and walked out of the security office. I slipped out the side door and made it
to my car without being seen. After leaving the hotel parking lot I headed towards the outlet where I
had bought my boots. My plans were to stop by the outlet on my way home and buy some leather
cleaner so I get my boots back to regulation shine. The mall wouldn't be open for a couple hours so I
decided I would stop at the gas station and get me a soda, then I would go to the Waffle House for
breakfast, provided they would allow me inside in my present condition. I pulled into the parking area
of the gas station, got out and went inside. I paid for my soda and stepped back outside, as I was about
to get back into my car I noticed a sign that read: Shoe Shine. I walked over and asked the, expecting to
see a man, woman how much.
"Shoes shined for two dollars." She said in a weak, raspy voice. I gave the woman the two dollars, had a
seat in the chair and placed my foot on the box. She cut her eyes at me and I can only imagine what
must have been going through her mind as she gazed at my mud clad boots and uniform. She proceeded
to brush the dried mud off the sides of my boot.
As I sat watching her work, I struck up a conversation with her and found that I knew this woman. I had
graduated high school with her. She had never been what you would call a friend, more of an
acquaintance, a classmate. Just someone I used to know.
Gazing down upon her unkempt, graying hair I realized I no longer knew this girl. She was no longer the
girl I knew in high school and I had to wonder what had happened to the girl who, at one time, had been
the most popular girl in school, the head cheerleader and the homecoming queen. What could possibly
have happened that would have resulted in her having to resort to shining shoes for a living? It makes a
person wonder just what tragedy could have befallen a person that would result in such a drastic change
in one’s lifestyle. I wanted to know more about her situation but I didn't want to offend or seem
intrusive. I had to be careful. I just wanted her to know that I was concerned for her welfare and wanted
to help if I could. You never know until you know the situation.
Upon further inquiry she informed me that she had strayed away from God and his teachings, because
of a man she had gotten involved with. This man had been a member of a Gothic church and he had
attempted to brainwash her in order to induct her into the church. She wanted to distance herself from
him and the church and in attempting to leave she was in a terrible accident. During her time in the
hospital he cleaned out her bank account and she lost everything. She said that she did find her way
back to Jesus.
I was pleased to hear that she had found her way back. I told her that if a person believed in God and
put their trust in Him, he would carry them through their many trials and troubles. As I sat listening to
her story, I thought back to when we were in school. She had always been a pleasant young lady, not the
snobbish type that you would think her to be given her social status and popularity. Instead she was
very friendly and always seemed to be happy and the most memorable thing about her was that she
always laughed at everything. What had always struck me as being kind of funny was her nickname. The
guys on the football team always called her a giddy goat. I never understood the significance of that
nickname, but it had a certain element of cuteness to it. We continued our conversation for a few more
minutes then all out of the blue she asked me what my blood type was. I seemed a bit confused until
she informed me that she had one more surgery to go through and she would need blood. I felt really
bad for her and her story really tugged at my heart strings. I had to tell her that although I was a
universal donor, I wouldn't be able to help her because when I was 13 I had hepatitis and I could no
longer donate blood. She was disappointed but she understood. To change the subject, I asked where
she lived. She cut her eyes at me and with some reluctance she told me that she was currently living out
of her car. I had to fight back the tears. No longer was I looking at the high school sweetheart and
homecoming queen, I was looking at a broken spirit, a woman that was just a shadow of her former self.
She finished my boots and they were spit shined to perfection. You could see your reflection. I thanked
her and asked if she had eaten. She said she hadn't eaten for two days. I told her to pack up her kit and I
would buy her breakfast. She started packing up her kit and I helped her get it into her car, then we
locked up her car and got into mine. On the way to the restaurant I told her that I wanted to talk to her,
that I had a proposition for her.
She looked at me with curious eyes. I looked at her and smiled. "God works in mysterious ways."