"I. Don't. Want. To. Go!" Little Sophie screams.
She clings on the doorway for dear life as her Father pulls her outside.
"Moommmmy, Mooommmmy help me!" She calls out for her Mother who was watching with a wistful look inside.
"Now, now, Sophie." Sophie's Mother slowly approaches the girl. "I have an interview. Mommy can't look after you today," she gingerly pries Sophie's fingers off the doorway but gives up halfway and sighs.
"Greg, stop pulling her!"
When he does Sophie lets go and runs to give her Mother a hug. She thought she hated her Mother being a college student but now she thinks that she just might hate her Mother being a teacher even more!
"Uuu!" Sophie shakes her head while burrowing her face into her Mother's trenchcoat.
Her Mother laughs.
"Sophie, go help Daddy today huh? He's going to cook. You love to help him cook." Mother tries.
True, Sophie did love to learn cooking from her Dad,but it wasn't the cooking that she had a problem with. It was where they were going and who they would see. Sophie glances at her Father now who's also looking quite apologetic and slightly agitated. While she stares her Mother gives her hands to her Father who asks if she's ready.
Sophie doesn't answer. Only furrows her brows at him.
They arrived at the soup shop a little later than usual due to Sophie's tantrum and the heavy snow. Mr. Ben, one of her Father's friends call out to him as he stirs a large pot of soup from behind the counter.
"Ah, there he is! It's a rush hour!" he calls.
"I know, I know." Her Father says quickly walking over to it. He flicks up a little latch that opens it and they go in.
Mr. Ben spots Little Sophie and smiles.
"Aw, you coming to help Daddy today?" he asks.
Little Sophie nods reluctantly.
Her Father quickly puts on his apron before tying one on her. This one just so happened to be small enough which makes Sophie wonder if she had been tricked somehow.
On the edge of the counter were a line up of trays with empty bowls, a set of forks and spoons.
Beside Sophie was the now finished Soup which her Father scooped up with a ladle and poured into the bowls. After demonstrating her Father hands her the ladle.
"This is your job, okay?"
As Sophie scoops soup out into the bowl her Father puts things on the tray. Like a plate of pita bread and juice, water, cookies, cake or softer things like applesauce and gelatin filled with fruit mush. Sophie stiffens as dirty people dressed in ragged clothing came up to claim one of the trays. Some of them smell like pee and others smell like poo. Her Father doesn't seem to mind at all not even when an old man breaks out into violent coughs and wheezes. Sophie's pretty sure she those germs go into the food but it was fine since he claimed the tray he coughed on she guessed.
Soon she drew accustomed to her role, holding her breath a little when she couldn't bear the stench. She hated this. She hated having these dirty people staring at her and coughing at her with those dirty faces.
That is until she saw him.
Next in line was a dirty little boy, with big blue eyes. He looked to be frosted by the snow from the tip of his head to his toes, he was covered in snow. He looked just about her age and upon realizing this her eyes widen.
Why was this dirty little boy among these dirty adults?
The boy sneezes.
The woman behind him takes out a dirty rag for him to blow his nose in. She looked like his Mom.
"Sophie, the soup." Her Father reminds her.
"Oh!" Sophie jolts out of her 10 second stupor and slips her ladle into the pot which was growing a little empty.
"Is there any more soup?" Sophie asks.
Her Father glances at its contents and calls for Paul, a guy who emerges from the back. He swaps the old pot out with a full one. Sophie beams.
"It's piping hot!" Sophie tells the two in realization and the woman smiles, thankfully as Sophie scoops out a big serving of meat and vegetables. Her Father smiles to himself as he places down some bread and juice.
"Enjoy." He says.
"It's Piping hot!" Sophie calls out to more people entering. "All you frozen people come get warmed up!" She calls.
Once she serves everyone in line Sophie turns to ask.
"Why are these people so dirty and why do they smell?"
"These people are homeless." Her Father tells her. "They have no place to live, so they can't bathe and they can't wash their clothes."
Puzzled Sophie asks another question.
"Why are these people homeless?"
"They don't have a job, you need a job that pays in order to make money. Money to buy things like a house, clothes, and a washing machine. Most of these people have lost their jobs and homes because they didn't have enough."
Sophie stares out of the mass of homeless people in awe. She felt a little bad for thinking that they were ugly and smelly a little earlier.
"Why can't they live with us?" She turns to stare at her Father with earnest eyes.
Amused by this question he laughs before saying:
"All of them?"
Suddenly understanding, Sophie doesn't say anything else as the frosted boy from before now returns with warm cheeks.
"Can I have some more?" he asks.
This boy has nowhere to live, no place to bathe or wash his clothes- then he doesn't have any fridge so he won't have food! Sophie realizes, she imagined herself, her Mom and Dad living outside with no place to go. Her eyes watered as she suddenly felt quite sad and scared at the thought but before the helplessness could overtake her she slapped her cheeks along with the tears. She wasn't homeless. She had a house, clothes, food at her house, a washing machine and a dryer. She faces the boy now who was waiting almost scared as she had not answer.
Sophie smiles a reassuring smile, she might not have realized this but the boy seemed to raise his hopes back up as she had not shooed him away.