She stared and stared at my shoes.
I looked down at my feet – leather
sandals with blue, rhinestone straps.
My fresh pedicure winked back at me with
gold sparkle polish.
I looked back at her. Now her head was hanging
way down like she was thinking.
“If I could just have the shoes, it would all be okay.”
I looked away. She made me uncomfortable with her
shabby clothes and dirty hands, holding the handle of the old
metal shopping cart.
It was filled to the brim with stuff, flotsam and jetsam, boxes and bags
in all mis-matched colors and styles. They matched her clothes.
Her head hung down so you couldn’t see her eyes.
I glanced at my Seiko watch to check the time. Didn’t want to be
late for that hair appointment.
She had on an old visor, stuck in her hair that mostly hid her face.
I readjusted the ear buds on my Apple I-phone.
I didn’t want to look at her, share her shame. Irresistibly my
eyes were pulled back to her riding on this crowded subway.
Why so many bags and boxes? Ah, this is her house that she carries with her.
She blends in here, with all the other people, all going somewhere.
She could be anyone else.
It’s when she leaves here and goes up to the street,
that’s when she has to become someone who has
somewhere to go, someone to meet.
But there is no one and nowhere. Just the street.
I check my lipstick in the mirror in my handbag,
the train is slowing down.
Time to get back to my life.