Riko sat at the bar.
She had ordered a hot drink.
She shouldn't have. She had no money to pay for it. But she desperately wanted something to warm her up after the many cold nights out on the street with no where to go.
Her hands, blackened with dirt cupped the mug from which she drank from. Her desire had over ridden her reality, but right now, the reality was comforting. She nervously tried to smooth out her dirt caked hair.
Two beautiful women sat looking. They sneered. One whispered something to her friend. They both huddled over and sniggered.
Riko blushed, embarrassed. She pulled her filthy torn coat tightly around her.
Someone came and sat beside her.
Riko looked at him.
He had warm eyes and a kind smile. She looked down at her worn out clothes.
He spoke to her. Riko was shocked. Many were often repulsed by her.
He seemed drawn to her, and she to him. He called her by her name. She wondered how he knew. She smiled shyly and looked down at the floor. He laughed. She sipped her hot drink.
They moved over to a table and talked and enjoyed an exquisite meal.
Riko liked that he was so kind. He didn't look at her for what was on the outside. He seemed to see more than that. He told her she was worth more than she thought. For Riko, the meal spoke for itself.
The man got a phone call, he got up said goodbye and left.
Riko was astounded.
She ran outside to look for the man with the warm eyes and kind smile.
The man had disappeared. He was no where to be seen.
Riko went back inside. At the bar she tried to explain. Her eyes were sad, her words spilling over one another.
She explained that she didn't have the money to pay for the meal, her companion had left her stranded. She offered to pay by washing all the dishes, working for a time to pay off all that had been eaten.
The waitress smiled back at Riko. She was taken by her earnest apologies.
'Ma'am, it's fine' the waitress explained. 'It's all been paid for. The gentleman already paid the bill before you even began to eat'.
Riko was stunned. She picked up her bags and turned to leave.
Oh, Ma'am' the waitress called after her. 'The gentleman left his name. Vation, Mr Vation', she read from a small piece of paper in her hand.
'First name Sal'.