Laura was a successful advertising executive in New York City when she passed 11-year-old Maurice on the streets one day. She hardly noticed him at first.
“His words were part of the clatter, like a car horn or someone yelling for a cab,” she wrote. “They were, you could say, just noise – the kind of nuisance New Yorkers learn to tune out.”
But something stopped Laura in her tracks, and she walked back to Maurice, invited him to McDonald’s, and began a relationship that would change both of their lives. The two began to meet weekly, and before long, Laura even included Maurice in her own family’s holiday celebrations.
“An Invisible Thread,” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, tells a fascinating and moving story of two people from vastly different worlds.
Their worlds were so different that when Maurice found out Laura had tracked him down to the public housing apartment he shared with many relatives, he begged her never to return there for her own safety.
“You have to promise me you’ll never go back there again,” he said. The child was trying to protect his adult mentor.
But Laura and Maurice had in common the pain of childhoods marked by chaos. Laura grew up navigating her own father’s violent alcoholic outbursts, which seemed to give her a special understanding and empathy for Maurice.
Laura tried to create a comforting routine for Maurice with weekly dinners, laundry washing, and even making him lunch for school daily. It was the kind of routine that those who have lived without really can appreciate.
Maurice requested that his lunch be give to him in a paper bag each day. He said, “Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them.”
Despite warnings from friends and loved ones that she was possibly becoming too close to this child, Laura forged ahead, enjoying a relationship that has continued into Maurice’s adulthood. It is a friendship that has survived ups and downs in both their lives.
Laura’s decision in that brief moment so many years before changed two lives for the better. This is an uplifting story of love and trust.