overheard

On my way to the store a pony-tailed woman approaches, power-walking with two others in her wake; she’s speaking loudly and I prepare to nod, say good morning, but the ponytail doesn’t make eye contact, too busy rattling on…

“I said to him, I asked him, I said do you like my hair better up or down and he said, I don’t know, hair is hair and I said yeah, I know, but do you think I look prettier with it up or…”

In the moment we pass each other, I notice her walk-mates catch my eye—no words, just a please, please can you help us?? kind of look that makes me smile, glad to be stepping out alone.

A girl, maybe five years old, sits on a big comfy chair at the library, skinny bare legs stick straight out on the seat, pink sneakered feet barely reach the edge. She holds up a picture book the way a teacher would, turns the pages clumsily but with concentration, tongue between teeth; she talks out loud as if reading the story to a class but no one is there except an older woman flipping through a magazine in the chair opposite. The girl closes one book, picks up another from the small stack on her lap, holds it open beside her cheek, peeks around at the pictures while doing her teacher talk, then suddenly turns to the woman: 

“What do you think Michael is making us for lunch?” she says.

The woman barely raises her head, mumbles… “I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.”

“Okay,” says the girl. And holds up the next book.

Two elderly people in a waiting room, the woman says to the man: “Of course we had the house built, chose the lot and everything—on the first of September it’ll be 53 years since we moved in.”

“When you moving out?” says the man.

“First of September.”

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