Chasing Joy

Chasing Joy (500Words, Round 3, Day 9, 2/22/18)

The streetlights came on with a soundless pop that drew her attention outside. When she’d arrived, she had to weave her way through the kids walking past on their way home from school. Now, the sun was down just enough to give a muted quality to the scene. She had been sitting there, hunched over her notes, for almost an hour. As she watched the cars driving past she noticed that only about half of them had felt the need to turn on their headlights. If she left now, she could be home before it was truly dark.

“Can I get you anything else, ma’am?” The waitress had appeared out of nowhere, somehow sensing that she was ready to go.

“If you could wrap this for me that would be great.” She handed over her barely touched meal. “And I’ll take the check when you have a moment.”

“Was everything ok, ma’am? I can get you something else if you’d like.”

Plus one on the tip, she thought, while she answered, “Everything was fine. I guess I’m not as hungry as I thought.” It had been a few weeks since she’d been able to finish a meal. It wasn’t the restaurant’s fault though the waitress looked unconvinced.

Turning her attention back outside, she was rewarded with one of the best sights of her day. Three girls were coming down the sidewalk chatting and giggling. Their dark skin shone in contrast to their shockingly bright jackets. There was so much color and brightness emanating from the three of them that the streetlights seemed to dim as they approached. It wasn’t so unusual to see a gaggle of black girls walking past – the neighborhood she was in was proud of its diversity. That the three of them were carrying kites was unusual. And that they had kites were as bright as their jackets was unusual. And that the colors in the kites matched the colors in the girls’ hair was unusual.

She sat there, mouth open, watching the girls make their way down the street. The noise inside the restaurant was enough that she had no idea what they were talking and laughing about. She didn’t hear their laughter, though she was sure it was happening. While the girls were in view, she felt a huge pull to join them. She wanted to run outside and catch up with them. She wanted to be a part of their joy.

“Here you go, ma’am. I can take it whenever you’re ready.” The waitress had materialized again, pulling her focus from the compelling girls. Minus one for distracting me, she thought, as she dealt with the business of paying for her meal.

By the time she looked back into the street, the girls and their kites were gone. She swore softly under her breath as she packed up her things to go. It was silly to be upset, she told herself. It wasn’t like she really was going to run outside and fly kites with three girls she’d never met.

*This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons real or imagined is unintentional

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