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She sat on that unwelcoming November day, reflecting, contemplating, pondering. The bench was so awfully uncomfortable that morning and the bus was running late.

The sky had an overcast gloom with a chill in the air. As she looked up at the sky, she saw those dark gray clouds watching her. Shadowing over each other, moving faster than she had ever seen before. They went by, staring at her, looking at everyone, listening to every word said down here. Those clouds up there, they make fun of us, they laugh at our odd ways and our struggles. It is so easy for them, to float and watch.

She saw that old man walking down the sidewalk, he was thinking too. In his old age, nobody knows how long he has left, weak, thin, his bones degenerating. Those were his worries; that was his life, everything at his age is about death and illness. Everyday his granddaughter stops by his apartment to check up on him, she is the only close family he has. She brings him what he needs and makes sure he is alright. Never does she ask him what he feels like doing that day or if he wants to go out for the day. All they care about is whether he will be alive tomorrow, not whether he is having a good time living today.

Next she saw a teenager, cuts up and down her arms, a cigarette in her mouth, yet she was only fifteen years old. Being so young, only the negative is seen in her eyes. She is wasting everything away, not knowing what will happen in the future, not willing to wait and see what happens. The only day she is waiting for is the one when she gets the chance to jump.

Then the mother with her first grader in one hand and her toddler in the other, each day is a battle in its own. She wonders if she is doing a good job, if she is doing the best she can, and most importantly, if her children will have a better life than she ever did. Those two little boys are all she cares about, nothing else matters in the world to her but them. Every night she goes to bed crying, but as long as she knows that her children will be there, safe and healthy in the morning, she can make it through another day.

She sees the mother wave good bye, telling her son that she will be at the bus stop to pick him up at three o’clock. He tells her he loves her. That puts a smile on his mother’s face, he kisses his little brother and tells him he will see him when he gets home from school. He sits on the bench next to the woman and he starts to think as they both wait there in silence.
Finally the little boy spoke,
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
She responded as simply and as truthfully as possible,
“Life.”





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