three girls

So I walked to the library.

And inside, the first thing I see, a girl, maybe five or six, in a red dress with big black polka dots, skip, skip, skipping, towards the kiddie book section—arms overhead and long blonde pony tails bouncing and swinging from side to side, unbridled as her joy.

On the way home, a girl, maybe fifteen, in cutoff shorts and tiny tee-shirt. Long brown hair, tied back, exposing round, freckled face and big smile. An apple-cheeked, wholesome Daisy Duke. She delivers newspapers in a wooden wagon and as I walk past she says Hello! in this way that feels like she’s actually happy to see me. Some people can do that. Some people can be fifteen and beautiful and not know it, and make being a paper girl who hauls around an old wagon seem like a very enviable thing.

Around the corner, an old girl. Maybe eighty. Maybe more. Grey hair, wavy, cut in a bob, shoulders hunched forward like a parenthesis, as if it’s been a long time since her back was straight. Comes out of one of the swanky houses that abutt the ravine. She’s in smart trousers and a light khaki jacket with a Burberry collar, black patent leather flats. She walks toward the dead-end of the street; I assume she’s off to visit a neighbour for tea or a few hands of bridge. But no. She walks to the end, then pauses, turns back and walks home. All in perfectly polished patent leather pumps.

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