Strangers

When I walk down our very long street on my way home from work,  I first pass grocery stores and bus stops which eventually blur into Victorian tenement buildings and small businesses. Walk further along and the other end peters out into vine covered bay windows, rose gardens and a huge wildlife preserve.

I find this slow dissipation of city a welcome mental break. The small imperceptible shift from Working World to Home Life incarnate.

The other day I was walking home in the twilight and it was surprisingly quiet. Hardly any other pedestrians or traffic. I could hear the footsteps of another commuter a whole block away.

He was coming my direction, a nondescript middle aged business man: clacking black wingtips, brief case, a purposeful gait.

As he drew closer his shortly cropped (and mildly balding) steel grey hair and long wool coat came into focus.

But it wasn’t until we were a car’s length apart that I noticed something else.

His shoes were filled with generic black trouser socks but they were not covered by the expected pinstripes or flannel. Beneath the long coat peeked a flowing flamenco skirt hem and just a tiny hint of calf.

I looked up to his face to find Barbara Bush pearls peeking out from the coat’s collar and small matching studs in his ears.

I couldn’t help but smile, cheered at someone carving their own life out in this world.

But he stared at the pavement as he scurried past; oblivious or worried, distracted or shy, I don’t know.

I have thought of this person several times since. Wondering where they were headed, where they came from.

Is the mixed message deliberate? transitional? unconscious?

I haven’t seen them since. I hope they find wherever they were going.

 

 

 

 

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