So flew the god and the virgin – he on the wings of love, and she on those of fear. The pursuer is the more rapid, however, and gains upon her, and his panting breath blows upon her hair. Her strength begins to fail, and, ready to sink, she calls upon her father, the river god: “Help me, Peneus! Open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!”
-from Bullfinch’s Mythology
The first time your car was stolen, you were sleeping in the backseat in a pile of all your belongings. The thief didn’t know. He didn’t bother to check the back seat. He popped the lock and hotwired the car. The thief drove your car to the 24-hour grocery. When he left, to go to the store, he left the engine on. You were quick to take back the front seat and steal your own car back. Driving away, you saw him in line, buying a quart of milk. It was 3 AM, and none of the buses were running. You imagined him, with a baby that needed milk at 3 AM, and you couldn’t bring yourself to call the police on him.
At least he had somewhere to go. You had walked out on someone, after two years. You wanted to stay in the city, even if it meant sleeping in your car a few nights. If you went anywhere else, he’d find you – at your mother’s house, or a friend’s. He’d never find you in your car, deep in the heart of the city. You had nowhere to go, at the time, and you couldn’t hate the man who stole your car while you were sleeping in it because he had somewhere to go, for milk, with milk.