The four-year-old in the airport

Airport“Don’t touch,” her mother scolds, but she needs to.

The saturated candy stands, glossy sheets, fuzzy things – how could a backpacked explorer not want to reach out and discover them? Run her fingers over untouched pages; the first to lay claim to their margins.
“Don’t touch!” her mother shouts, but who wouldn’t want to? Should her fingers lay shackled to her hand, fused with her wrist, stuck to her side?
Her mom looks away and she strokes the furry “C.”
Later, when some weary traveller buys that neck pillow, it’ll bear traces of that little girl’s spirit: her defiance, her curiosity, and maybe some jam.
“Let go,” her mother tugs.
She proceeds, empty-handed.

The Manhattan man in the sparkly dress

Manhatten SparklyIt’s alright, you can stare.

But not because I asked for it. That’s what people say: that by wearing a blue, sparkly dress, I’m asking for the heat of a thousand eye balls and half as many gaping mouths.

I’m not asking for it. I simply felt like wearing a blue, sparkly dress today. The way you chose your top hat or those designer shades.

I didn’t ask for it any more than a girl in a short skirt asks for whistles and a concern for her safety.

I just hadn’t worn this dress in awhile and it was time to, is all.

Alright, so I otherwise look like a lumberjack with the long beard and the broad shoulders. And perhaps it – to some – makes my dress stand out in starker contrast.

And maybe I don’t mind the looks so much anymore. Over time it becomes easier to ignore a stare or return it, dead on, as long as I can go without blinking because two can play that game.

There was once a time when I shrunk under scrutiny; scurried from the spotlight as fast as I could go.

But not any longer.

So no, I’m not “asking for it” by wearing this dress.

It’s just that it goes so well with my sparkly blue heels. Don’t you think?


The Brooklyn barista

The coffee shop employee in Brooklyn

He smiles so hard it makes you happy and exhausted all at once. Makes you remember the days when you had smiles like exhalations; one with every breath.

He seems to genuinely want to give you something to warm your belly or cool your overheated vessel. Perhaps it’s gratifying to provide the liquid that refuels; that many deem more important than kindness.

Maybe he’s forcing it, but it’s a good sell.

These streets of asphalt and exhaust fumes, aren’t they known for being full of vehicles – mechanical and otherwise – that go fast and hard and harried?

Yet here you are, smiling before sunrise, steeping me something sweet.

You told me to have a nice day. Sometimes, when genuine, that sticks.