If on some sunny Saturday
morning you decide to take the long way to the Mountain View downtown
and take Central Expressway
instead of Highway
101 South, and take a left turn into the Castro Street
so you'll be able to drive very slow without fearing the honks from other cars; Then, on that day, you'll find red light at the Villa
You should stop here and look towards your left, on the other side of the road. There is a Coffee shop there, with almost a ceiling high glass window facing the side road. This window, you can see that, the shop owner has decorated with all various pastel colored china. On the outside, against this window across the foot path is the bus stop with a wooden bench with shade of an old Juniper.
You'll see a very cheerful young girl sitting cross legged on this bench. She could be sipping coffee if it is a winter day. She'd be wearing a Maroon colored blazer and a woolen scarf covering her hair. She looks at all those who pass her by and replies with smile to everyone who wishes her a nice day. If you watch her long enough you'll notice that every once in a while that she smiles, she also wipes a tear off her eyes.
If the intersection light has turned green by now, you should go ahead and cross the intersection; find some parking and walk back to this bench. She would still be there even if a bus just stopped and went by. She's not waiting to catch a bus you see.
"I own a city", she starts by saying if you sit by her and strike up a conversation. She's would be easy to talk to and would be willing to tell stories as long as lonely nights. "A city with high walls all around it, and gates, four of them, on either side. Its a city with old ways. A small city but a very beautiful one, with flowers everywhere, different colors and shapes and smells. And butterflies all around. And the sound of music, the kind that makes you want to sing and dance all day. And if you get on roof of a house and see in the distance outside the city, you could see Mountains, the tallest in the world. White as Fresh milk and mighty high; so high, you'll need to fly to see their top."
You may feel connected to her and feel ready to destroy the first thing that makes her cry. You'd want to kill and steal for her. "But my city is very small; and my people are very poor. There is not enough for everyone, so they do not have good homes to protect against bad weather; nor do they have enough clothes to wear. They dance and sing to keep their mind off their problems. But my people don't complain because they know I'm aware of their plight and penury."
She'll bring back memories. Oh all the memories. The girls you loved in your neighborhood when you were 10 maybe; the girl you had a huge crush for in high school and the ones that gave you heartaches in college; because she has that smile; that open and inviting smile, that smile that makes you feel happy and welcome. She has those hair, the ones that have a life of their own. they dance with each whiff of breeze that touches them and a few of them cover her face every so often and she removes them with her fingers.
"The day it was my birthday I met two very sweet twin girls in my palace's garden in rags. They looked almost my age; they called me 'Maharani' .They were very hesitant to ask what they wished to ask so I told them to not worry and say what they want to. When they couldn't speak for some time; my palace guard came forth and told me it was their birthday that day and they came hoping I'd give them presents. The girls looked very embarrassed and ashamed to have done that. I was filled with infinite sorrow to hear this and asked them to ask whatever they wish without worrying. I'll give them what they want. Can you guess what they asked for? Can you? They asked for one meal. One meal to quench their hunger. A handful of rice; a few vegetables maybe. One meal for a birthday present.", she stops to wipe her tears and smiles again, it pains you this time. You can't think of anything to say.
"I couldn't stand there, I ran inside the palace and asked guards to take care the girls don't leave without eating and food and clothes to take along, I could not sleep for nights. I could not see my city and find beauty anymore, everything started giving me sorrow. I ran away from there. I abandoned my city. Now I live here where people have enough to not worry about clothes and shelter and they don't fear mornings because they know they'll still have food. I miss my city but I can't go back now. I'm ashamed."
She'll stop and start to sip her coffee again. You'll be too sad to say anything. You'll feel tears in your throat maybe.
Don't say much; just tell her she'll be all right if you can and walk back towards your car. Don't fall for her. She'll be fine. I know; I knew her once ... I still find strands of her hair in bed...