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There's a Lady Near the Swimming Pool
There's a young lady near the swimming pool.
She stands not near the fence, but close enough to get an unobstructed view of the shiny, new faces that splash and play there. She lingers behind the big oak tree and plays classical music, one earbud in only. Her bleach blonde hair falls past her shoulders, split ends branching out like spindly fingers. Her rust-colored sneaker keeps her up as she leans on the rough bark, her shadow lies ominously still.
She does not smile. The children's parents do not comment when passing. They think, though. They think, and she knows what they think. She's a twig, they think. Those eyebags... she must have a drug problem, they think. She is not, she does not. They do not, and will not know. Because people do not ask such questions. People assume. People are useless.
The bleach blonde young lady near the swimming pool is nineteen years old. She seems weak. She hardly has any meat on her bones, whispers the grandmother that fans her face with a newspaper under the shade of a green awning umbrella. Where she can see them, they can see her, although it's hardly for long. She observes while they glance. Though... this day. This day relies on their glances. This day relies on the cycle that often happens.
She has quit college. She has not done drugs, no, but she has lost sleep. She is smarter than people, and thus does not need sleep. Sleep is for people. People have hurt her. She is not people, but a higher intelligence; a bigger entity in a world full of tiny creatures who looked at her with disgust and broke her heart and done unspeakable things to an innocent young lady such as herself.
A young lady stands near the swimming pool. She wears a beanie and a hoodie although it is summertime. Her combat boots are clean as a whistle. Her black skinny jeans show every curve of her stickesque legs as she leans against the big oak tree near the black fence that can't keep anyone out, not that it's trying. It leans against a big oak tree, near a blonde young lady who is dressed for an arctic adventure, the girl with the Dora the Explorer backpack notes to herself as her father drags her away. The young lady by the tree by the fence by the swimming pool does not smile. She simply pulls her beanie lower onto her forehead.
There is a young lady near the suburban neighborhood swimming pool. The sidewalk is powerwashed weekly, the leaves blown into the forest that the fence shields from the looks of curious children as they pass. She does not stare at the people as they pass, but merely feel the vibration of their stride rise through her toes and into her chest, reminding her heart to beat once in awhile. Blood rushes through her veins like water rushes through a dry canal after years of being dammed up inside.
People pass. People glance. The sun beats down on the young lady near the swimming pool, and she sweats, but she doesn't acknowledge it. If she does, if she shifts just so, if she moves one muscle... her cover will be blown.
Yes. The cover she has created over months of just standing in the same outfits in the same stance in the same place. Now, on this warm summer day, this warm Tuesday afternoon, the wool over the neighbor's eyes will be jerked away with a loud noise and a puff of black smoke.
No one suspects the young lady of anything but being herself—or, in their eyes, an extra in their little movies. Their visions, every one of them, are video cameras, media cameras, news cameras. Witnesses are nothing but secondhand footage. No one sees past the blandness and sameness of this young lady, no. People only see the skinniness, anorexic, the outfit, social media guru, see the eyes, drug addict. They see the hoodie during summer and think self harm.
If it were a man, there every day, people would suspect something. People would pick their children up and prop them on their hips and pet their heads. Besides, strangers are but a shallow, two-dimensional image to regular people. Strangers are buckets of possibility that are overlooked by their subtle glances and lack of interest and stereotypes.
People don't look past the blandness, the sameness. People don't look past the beanies and the dark eyes. People don't look past the stereotypes of what women are and are not capable of doing.
People do not look past the heavy jacket to see the outline of a gun.
There is a young lady near the swimming pool.