Naturally, Randi and Napoleon were not on their usual corner, since she's been in the hospital this week. Why would I expect her to be panhandling in front of Starbuck's on a cold night?
I really wanted an update on her. I really wanted to hear that she and Napoleon are OK. So I circled around to the other entrance and there was her husband, Napoleon's dad, Caleb. The news he had for me was anything but OK.
Randi has cervical cancer. Yes, she was hospitalized for a lung infection. They were running all manner of tests on her, trying to get to the cause of her infection, and something suspicious showed up in her bloodwork that led them to the diagnosis. The doctor said that it's possible that the lung infection saved her life, because it brought them to the cancer discovery early.
Caleb was going to the hospital this evening, before going to work (!), and he had hoped to raise the $20 left to pay the first two months' rent on the bedroom they hope to move into. He still had $15 to go. Randi needs to stay in bed for two weeks, and it would be nice if the bed was off the ground. And safe.
I gave him $21. "I can get the key," he said. Followed by, "You don't have to do this."
I squeezed his hand. "Yes, I do. I'm your friend."
He started to cry. "I'll be praying for you guys," I said, moving away. I didn't want to embarrass him.
He said nothing about Napoleon. I hope the cat is OK, and that Caleb just didn't have time to update me on him. He and especially Randi love that cat so much. Now is not the time for them to lose him.