People Walking

She limps and sets her eyes beyond you. Watching your youthful steps from the unfocused peripheral. Inside focused on you seamless steps over cracks and curbs. That she remembers in her bones, and can’t bring her broken body walk such carefree ways.

He scuffs a mismatched shoestring underneath a too loose boot. Layers of the ages, of the decades, of the thrift store dumpster. Covered up exposure of too many years in blistering sun. Saggy leather unbleached skin, not like the bronzed bikinis.  He will look too deep and hide in rags. Sniper from the shrouds. What, we wonder, is his prey.

She sways and swaggers. Not with wine but un-abashed confidence. Heels that find the street precise and pointed into the ground, chest high, fluid hips, parted lips and catching the early evening chill. Her gaze does not waiver. Looking straight into him, into her, smiling, laughing, tasting afternoon peach flavor, whatever the weather. They all feel happy. When they are so bold to meet her eyes. But how many will be so bold. To lift up their visual connection to her joyful vision.

Frantic. Frizzy. Holding the tiny hand of her baby. tripping. skipping. Pulling. Falling. Holding her hand. She doesn’t want it. But it is what must be done. To keep her from the fast traffic flashing in front of her face. Headlights. Reflecting on golden curls. Spiral and crumpled. Unwashed cheek. Gracefully finishing a young fresh face.

Smooth stride. Sun spot shoulders under his Hawaiian style shirt. Finger air strumming a song that he wrote, long ago. Humming. Singing. In the back of his throat. A classic, sung softly, so not to embarrass. Intensely for the girls, when they look through their thick eyelashes. Only half-amused smiles. Interesting. Interested? Entertain them. He does. Dance, monkey, dance. 

His too loose pants under his too long shirt. Too much for anyone around here. Clothes, or attitude or otherwise. Too long, too much. Too rude. He learned to live the too much. And the too much was too much for any of them. So, he had more. More words. More drinks. More drugs. More to insulate him from the family that didn’t care how much he ever was. More to focus on the things he wondered if were even important. But now he was addicted to the too much of everything. 

People walking. Every day.

Where are they going? Most people don’t really think about that.

But we all keep walking. Down this same old street.