I was gardening
in my front yard when I heard the approach of heeled shoes on pavement and the slight creaking that I at first thought was my abused muscles but soon realized was a wheel of some sort. I looked up to find the cause of my interuption.
She was walking down my tree-shaded street pushing a baby carriage and singing a song to the occupant. She was just one of those random strangers that you can never forget
. She seemed too put together to be a teen mother
but I didn't think she was much older than eighteen. Her voice was too youthful and unjaded. I dusted off my hands as I watched her continue on her way oblivoius to the world.
When she passed under a ray of sunlight, I got a suprise. Her hair was not black but a very dark blue
, obviously dyed but there were no tell-tale roots to betray her natural color
. The sunlight also glinted at her exposed navel
. I suspected a navel ring
. That exposed stomach was flat and looked fit
. Curiouser and curiouser.
Just as I was about to go back to the weeds
, I heard a pathetic little mew and saw a little furry face
peering out of the carriage. A cat?
The woman (girl?) said something that I couldn't catch in a singsong voice and reached into the carraige. She withdrew the offending hand
with a yelp and put one of the fingers in her mouth. The kitten
escaped her wrapings and jumped to the ground. It was nothing more than a tiger striped streak
as he sough refuge under my front porch.
I looked from the crying girl who now seemed so young to my garden
and decided the weeds would wait
. I bandaged her hand and helped her coax the hissing kitten
out from under the porch. I marveled at her. Her carefully applied makeup was a bit tear streaked but clearly had once been expertly applied. I wouldn't have been able to stand up in the heels she was wearing let alone walk all over the neighborhood. She did indeed have blue hair and a pierced navel
. But for all that, she couldn't have been much older than fourteen years and I was betting that she was closer to twelve.
I wondered who her parents were
and if I would ever see her again. I knew, in a few years that she would break hearts and suspected that even now, she was breaking them. I used to be like her, striving to grow up and be considered an adult so I could escape my childhood
. I never want to go back to that but for that one fleeting instant, I wanted to be that nameless girl with a kitten on a warm summer day