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New, Slightly Pink
I swear, it was the most normal day in history; the entire month was dripping with routine and sanity. The book felt familiar in my hands, and I couldn't keep my nose out of the pages. Sophie, my little sister, sang an aimless tune from the backseat. My dad was driving Sophie to her soccer practice, and I sat indifferently in the passenger seat.
We all leaned forward as the blue van slid to a stop at a red light. I closed the novel and looked around, deep in thought. To our left was a cemetery, and to our right was a thrift store.
"Dad, look! Look at that lady!"
Rolling my eyes, I turned to see what Sophie was babbling about... then I saw.
There was a woman walking down the sidewalk near the thrift store. No one special. Just a rather large, hispanic woman, a little younger than my mom. The thing was, she carried a mattress on her head.
A crisp, new mattress. Slightly pink. On her head.
Down the sidewalk.
"Maybe homeless," commented my dad. The light turned green, and he pulled the car away without thinking twice.
I didn't open my book for the rest of the car ride. The woman walking with the mattress on her head parted the seas of my own normalcy and showed me something I could never think of on my own. It was like looking through a window and seeing the other side of the world.
And I imagined her. I imagined her taking it to her home, a cramped apartment on the ground floor of a ratty apartment complex. Maybe she'd open the door to be greeted by her two young sons, Jorge and Manuel. They live without luxury, but it is luxury enough for them to greet their mom at the door after she comes home from her part-time job.
The woman asks how school was, but the children are too excited to answer. They see the surprise she has for them. The mattress. The boys marvel at it. They could only ever afford one mattress for the mom and one for the two boys to share. A new mattress is a glimmer of hope, maybe a chance, maybe a promise that things can always be better than expected. And with that mattress, in that cramped apartment on the ground floor of that ratty apartment complex, they are happy.
I sat back in the seat, watched the world fly by, and thought. Maybe we all have slightly pink mattresses that we carry around, just in a different way. Even though it sometimes feels like we have nothing but a cramped apartment, maybe there's always a mattress for us.
That's what I hope for. That's my mattress.