She was gangly. I was early. While I waited, sipping my cappuccino in a corner, I watched her. Except for one scraggly strand at her temple, her thin yellow hair was pulled tightly to a bun on the top of her head. The loose strand was hot pink. Piercings filled with metal ran up and down her ears. Her jeans fit like tights.
She went outside to smoke a cigarette; icy air blasted the store as she went. I shivered and shook my head: she was all of about sixteen.
My friends arrived, and, for the moment, she was forgotten. Lost in conversation and the catching up of years, I failed to notice her reenter the store or the way she was camped out, vacant, on a sofa in the corner.
That is, until the text. Continue reading
The following is based on a true story inspired by this post, as told by my dad.
I followed her into Starbucks. Actually, I arrived first. I was a gentleman: I opened the door.
It was the right thing to do, of course, though I was in a hurry. It was 7 a.m. I had to be at the office in less than an hour. But she, too, appeared rushed. It was the hurried click, click, click of her heels behind me that I had noticed first.
She was on the phone but mouthed “Thank you” as she and a small child walked past. Once they were through, and after a businessman had darted out, I abandoned my post and got behind them in line. Starbucks was busy that morning. I couldn’t afford to be chivalrous all day. Continue reading
She took the room by surprise. Or maybe it was just me. I noticed her as soon as I walked in.
She had on hot pink shorts two sizes too small, and a bikini top over breasts two sizes too big. Across her back and on her arms and legs were tattoos; her ample girth jiggled as she walked. Even more interesting was her hair. Pixie length and bleach-blonde, her “locks” were pulled into pigtails that looked like sprouts coming out of the sides of her head. Earrings glistened from her ears.
Most noticeable, though, were her eyes. They were dark and masked by makeup and . . . bruises?
She was toting a three-year-old. Continue reading