Her hair is as long now as it was then and her body is just as slender as in her high school years. Now she is just past a half century old. Her hair though long is gray, damaged and dry. Her body though slight bears the wrinkles and loss of muscle tone that comes with the passage of time.
Her words carry a tone of quiet servitude and she quickly executes her duties. Knowledgeable of her job, she advises and suggests when customers ask. She whispers insider’s tips, softly speaking with pride of the establishment. Her attire is clean and well-kept; her jewelry and hair adornment are respectfully tasteful and attractive.
If you did not know her, perhaps you would glance her way but soon then you would forget her. Those who are streetwise would note the lines of stress from a life of pain, drugs and hardship. Those who walk that path are still drawn to her and are constantly vying for her attention.
Those that knew her when her youth was full of promise and bursting with potential see beyond the gray, straggly hair, brittle bones and sagging skin folds. Her eyes were once bright with mischief and secrets and giggles. Today her eyes were bright with the tears that threatened to erupt from a thirsty heart and a parched soul.
Having left her home this morning, she was greeted with the realization that a former misdeed had not been paid for and now the price was much higher. With ticket in one hand requiring more of her hard-earned salary, the other hand punched the time clock to start her shift.
Listening to the tale of the day and to the wounds of yesteryear, I desperately wanted to reach out and hold her. Her place of employment was not the place and had we not been there, even so I would have been unsure how she would have received such an intimate gesture from one such as I.
For days, she has been on my mind and so I deliberately sought her out on this day. She is a shadow of her former self, I have often wondered where did that girl disappear to. I have often wondered if this woman with a severe diagnosis and a scornful reputation is indeed grossly misunderstood and ill-loved.
Does she or does she not know what it is like to be loved?