Oh, it is a silly dance we do.

I could feel her. Everything from those black split ends, damaged from the numerous times she has “reinvented herself”… the pseudo-bohemian sandals click-clacking against the tile I have stared down at for so many hours, the tattered leather worn down by stumbling drunken nights. Fingertips indented and fingernails chipped, because she’s just trying so hard to be that girl playing the acoustic guitar. How sad you are, little thing. You are so very much a product of what so many people want out of you, but they have all deserted you now, and still you are very much alone.

I stepped into the silence of the parking lot. Tired from the night before, the streetlights looked accusing.

Battlefield intersection. Oh the thoughts and decisions I have scrutinized under this harsh crimson light. I laid my head back and thought of all the different ways I could ruin her. Subconsciously I knew it wasn’t worth it. This light felt like it was going to become my future. I looked to the right. There was a baby girl was thin tufts of curly blond hair and big blue eyes. She was in a pink windbreaker and strapped in tight to her car seat. She was looking at me before I looked at her. I could tell her head had been stationary for some time now. I did the thing I usually do when I see babies. I puffed up my cheeks and stuck out my tongue and crossed my eyes, to make her smile. She just stared and wiggled her fingers. No smile. This is not to say she was frowning, she looked content yet confused. I exhaled, disappointed that she wouldn’t laugh with me. I glanced at her parents and thought about the time I was harassed when I was four. A man flashed his penis to me when I was on the school bus. His sedan was next to us in traffic. I didn’t even have the nouns or emotions at the time to explain to my parents what had happened when I got home, but they knew. I thought about how vivid that image still is in my mind. Not to say I was harassing this little girl, I just thought about the chances that she would remember me when she’s a teenager. I thought about her as a teenager. Here this baby was, warm and safe and harmless and beautiful. She was going to get her heartbroken. She was going to trample someone. She was going to think there is no use sticking around anymore. This fragile beginning of a person was going to hurt.

I pressed my fingers against the glass and smiled at her. She knew nothing about me. She had no pre-conceived notions. I was a blank slate to her. I was a stranger to her.

I could see the light turn green out of my peripheral. I looked at the light then back at her, slowly easing onto the gas. She beamed, showing me a blank pink gum. It was all I needed, and we parted ways.

Oh how the past rots us.

February 4th is approaching; may it pass with ease.


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