I was sitting on a curb when this all happened. Another day of classes had ended, and I was waiting for my husband to pick me up. My rusty old mustang just couldn’t handle one more day of gear grinding. The curb was hard, and some mulch had managed to find it’s way into my hand. The mulch was crumbly, coarse. A young couple was standing near me. The woman’s hair rose and fell just above her hips, while her dress flowed freely above her knees. She was laughing, over what I cannot say. The man she was with had shaggy hair, circa the Beatles. Wearing a headband and flip-flops he looked to be the epitome of a free spirit. In slang terms I would describe them both as hippies. While my eyes darted back and forth over this unfolding scene, a young boy had come up beside me. He was blonde, and very fair. His age would be 6 if I had to guess. When he looked at me I was astonished by his bright blue eyes. They spoke to me, sending a message of extreme intelligence, and understanding far past his 6 years. He stared at me, before sitting down. His eyes were pointed at the couple when he whispered to me, “those are my parents.” I was surprised really, as neither the mother nor father had his fair skin or blonde hair, and certainly not his magnificent eyes. He would be a real looker someday. He continued on, as children do with, “were poor.” I could only imagine just how poor when I took a moment to steal a glance at his attire. Ripped jeans, an oddly stained t-shirt, and one toe peeking through his shoe spoke wonders. He continued chatting with me about his life, including that his mom’s boyfriend didn’t want kids. “I tell him my names not ‘kid’ but he never listens to me.” Pity began to race through my veins. I looked up, but the couple was gone. Vanished in fact. I stood, hoping to catch a glimpse of them, but they were nowhere to be seen. The boy had stood up by this time too, and realized they were gone. He would speak only once more to me, before he too, vanished. “Did you go to college?” he asked. “Well, yes, honey. In fact, just a few more months and I’ll have a degree!” I spoke lightly, hoping to put a smile on his uniquely aged face. He said nothing more, but nothing had to be said. It was as though a movie had unfolded, through his eyes. He was picturing the life he could have with me, a nice lady. The white picket fence, the dog-named spot, an adult who called him by his name, not “kid”. He trailed his fingers along the mulch, picking some up, when suddenly his mom appeared. She had come from behind a large black truck. “Come on kid, let’s get going.” The woman’s voice didn’t match her young body. It was raspy, and deep. Life couldn’t have treated her well either. The boy stared at me, for a few moments more, before walking away. He dropped the mulch slowly, piece by piece. His little hand couldn’t hold much, but I knew what he was doing. Leaving a trail, something to be remembered by. Perhaps he was hoping that someday, someone would find his trail and follow it. Instead, I sat on my curb. Should I have helped him? Perhaps. Could I have helped him? Perhaps. But, as he turned his head for one more glance, I knew, he needed no help. His life would be hard, that I cannot deny. Someday though, if you decided to follow his trail, perhaps you will come upon a tall, fair skinned man, with the most magnificent blue eyes. He will stare at you, but only for a moment, before a smile that is brighter then the sun breaks out across his face and you are frozen. Frozen that is, except for the smile that has mysteriously broken out across your own face.
July 30, 2011