Holding Francene’s Hand

Francene Short and Pierre Sanders walk together to raise awareness about homelessness in D.C. Photo by Bethany Keener

The other night I was lying in my bed thinking about all the things that Francene needed to get done. Things such as going to see a new dentist, making sure all of her shot records were in order, making sure she has enough money to buy whatever she needs.

As her accompanier these are all things that usually keep me up at 3 a.m., but last night something else crossed my mind. I started to think about the number of times I hold Francene’s hand.

Anybody who knows Francene might notice how she likes to reach out for your hand. Sometimes she reaches for your hand when she wants to introduce herself to you, or she might reach out for your hand when she wants to dance with you. She might even reach for your hand when she gets really excited about something, like getting change from the cashier at Harris Teeter.

As her accompanier I think about all the times she has reached for my hand. Like when we are at a doctor appointment, and she is scared so she squeezes my hand very tightly, or when we take walks together.

My favorite moment is when we are sitting on the couch, and for no reason whatsoever she grabs my hand and says, “I love you, Pierre.” That moment makes everything that could be going wrong in my life disappear, and I just sit there holding Francene’s hand.

Pierre Sanders joined the L’Arche community in Arlington in August 2010. He graduated from Voorhees College in Denmark, SC, with a BS in sociology. Pierre is teaching himself to play guitar, enjoys eating Soul Food, and wandering around D.C. until he gets lost (which has, in fact, happened).