It was raining—hard—and when I passed her, she poked her head out of the fort she had made out of boxes from the post office and umbrellas.

She said, “Have a good night. Stay dry.”

I stopped. We had talked before. She was not a young woman and the weather didn’t get worse than this in northern California. I said to her, “Hey, why don’t you get out of this shitty weather and sleep on my couch?”

She looked out and hesitantly replied, “Really?”

I helped her carry her three bags and rolling cart back to my apartment. I sat her on the couch and got her a blanket and a cup of hot tea. She didn’t look healthy but I suppose most people who live on the streets do not. As if she had read my mind, she offered, “Yeah, I’m not doing very well, medically. I used to be a nurse and I know what the signs of internal bleeding are. I have them. I’m not sure I will make it through the week.”

We continued to talk, but eventually her voice grew quiet and distant. Soon I could barely understand her. I repeated her name and asked if she was okay. Her speech became slower and slower.

Then, all of a sudden, her eyes sunk back into her head. Two silver hummingbirds crawled out of the sockets and flew around her head, trailing a glowing dust. A visible spirit shot out of her mouth in a thundering burst of life. Her body turned into gold coins and fell into a pile on the floor.

A beautiful apparition appeared. She said, “Thank you for helping me. Enjoy your new wealth.”