Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Morning Drive

I watched a man walking toward me on the street today.  He had a soft easy step with his hands in his pockets and arms akimbo.  He seemed so loose and free moving.  I noticed there was something wrapped around his neck.  Scarf? Handkerchief? Hands!  He had a child on his back.  Legs slipped through his arms and arms wrapped around his neck.  The child's face was pressed into his neck.  I could almost hear the child breathing against him.  As the man passed me by, he changed.  The step which was so carefree and happy, slowed and became more of a shuffle.  Jeans torn, layers of sweaters and the child was a backpack. The ends of the arm straps tucked into his front pockets with his hands.  He looked at me solemnly.  I felt so guilty, as if I broke his dream. By simply by seeing him, I brought him back to the reality where his child is gone.  Gone somewhere he is unable to follow.  I broke his gaze, and he continued moving on.  In my rearview mirror, I saw him straighten.  Saw the step grow easy and loose again.  The bag shifted and the child murmured something in his ear. 

We were both happier then.

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