It was late afternoon in the hamburger joint and the sky parted. It did not get bright gradually, like a sunrise. Clouds just moved away, the way they do sometimes after a storm, when the wind picks up and creates bright blue circles in the middle of the gray. The restaurant was now bright yellow on one side, and even the cheap plastic booths were colored in the yellow/orange light. People put down their burgers and papers and looked up into the glare, except for a girl in overalls. She was already standing at the door, getting ready to take her bag and go. But she stopped now and just stared into the sky. Her eyes squinting against unexpected brightness on a dull day. Turning her head suddenly to see if anyone else had noticed nature's unannounced appearance. She searched the faces, then looked straight at me, a partial eclipse-face half shade half sun. I shook my head as if to say-

Wow, something, huh?

I'm not sure what she saw because she turned her gaze back toward the door, for a moment, then left. The sun moved back behind the clouds and the afternoon turned dreary again. Time, which had paused, clicked on. A cheap TV with bad reception. It fades in and out of color before it loses it altogether. Here, no, Yes, No, gone....

"and all at once you look across a crowded room
to see the way that light attaches to a girl..."

A Long December-Counting Crows

The late afternoon sun,
Golden and clean in its winter contemplation,
Streaks silently through the grimy windows
(Which have endured years of handprints
And warm, sad cheeks pressed ancient and heavy
Against the glass)
Falling soft and lonely on her face.
Soon, the kids will be home from school,
Filling the house with noise and laughter,
And returning her to the daily drudgery of her existence...
But as the light shines warm and caramel on her skin,
Illuminating that lost youth of yesterday,
She is quiet,
Waiting for her life to finally begin...

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