Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Don't Know Their Names

   She wore a red apron and smiled as she said goodbye to the woman in the blue car. "Alright then, goodbye! God bless you!" She waved cheerily as the vehicle pulled down the street and out of sight. Then her light, curly-haired head turned toward me, and she gave me a Grandma's smile. "Well, hello there!" I smiled and returned her greeting. She turned then, and walked back to her house through the blue and yellow gardens, and I watched her. I don't know her name, but I wish I could have talked with her more.

   "See over there?" Dad motioned with his head. "That's a case of verbal child abuse if ever I've seen one. That kid's dad was sure laying in to him." My eyes followed his direction and rested on a small boy standing by a park bench.
   "He wasn't doing anything really," Dad continued. "He just asked for something, and his dad started yelling a couple of inches from his face."
   The boy stood there shaking from his sobs, and his freckled face was the description of hurt. Laughing, happy people walked in front of him to their destinations, and children called out to each other. The woman watching him sat on the green bench, and her face was cold. People clustered everywhere around him, but I knew he felt alone. I don't know his name, but I wish I could have told him I cared.

   A smile lit her face as her eyes squinted in a friendly kindness. I sat beside her and she pointed to the brightly colored circus performers and commented to me about them. The sun was hot, and my hands felt sticky. She bought me a blue snow-cone that day, and later we visited her room in the nursing home. I watched my parents talk to her, and I rocked in her chair and smelled her flowers. She smiled at me and she was kind to me. I don't know her name, but I wish I could have known her better.

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