Perhaps it is a bona fide theme.
Cowlick in her blonde ponytail, aqua blue scrunchy and a tee shirt like a run-mascara watercolor, a smiling girl in gray and blue sliding from the blonde one’s chest. She sits slump shouldered. I find her pretty. But here’s the hard thing for some to hear: I will not speak to her. A passing of equals, we are both on our way, bus-bound to work or school or the mall. We are busy creatures, and I know what it is to feel someone reach in and disturb my reading (she’s reading). She doesn’t want the contact. None of us ever do. It isn’t hard, then, to smile, to nod, to not say a word as she passes, unless she breaks the silence, for something like, “I like your outfit.” And leave it at that.
Is it so hard a thing? That tattooed Latino boy at the bus stop thought so, “You’re a beautiful girl. Can I get your number, call you some time? You got a boyfriend? Husband?” The bearded white guy driving the plumber’s supply truck thought so, stopping traffic to call out, “Hey, you’re pretty. I wanted you to know. Hey! Hey, look at me!”
Look, I am not pretty. I’m small, slump-shouldered when deep in thought, my book held up against the world, my headphones a strategy of isolation. I know these tricks. I use them. So I will say nothing to the blonde with the aqua scrunchy. And she will have a better day because of it.
Though I’m going to have to look for that book.