11,041 vagabonds plus:
Sheets of rain let up, quieting along the narrow road, halting to a mist, the wary old jeep's wipers struggling in slow out-of-sync mode as though hopeless and despondent. The thermometer hovered a shade above freezing.
The little girl pretended the halting motion of wiper blades were arms of a confused person directing traffic. Struggling to make a left, or stay all the way to the right? She became annoyed, exhaled deeply as kids sometimes do, bouncing back deep into the seat. Indecision was making her feel kind of sad. She stretched her pink sweater like she wasn't suppose to.
"Hmmm"?, she responded lamely.
"Those kids were little...like me", she stated half questioningly, hoping for quick parental approval, her violet eyes focused on the flower in her mom's hair, identical to her own small bloom she petted in the lap of her blue denims. Her mother turned the wipers off. She reached to turn the radio off, but she snapped that off a half hour before.
"Yes they were, Honey", she nodded, slowing the vehicle as she sipped coffee gone cold. And then in a whisper, "So sad", she shivered. Glancing at her daughter, those small pink fingers tickled flower petals gently, and she imagined the seven year-old experiencing her very first adult thoughts.
"They'll miss Santa", the child said to herself, worried and unspoiled, looking straight ahead at the silver button on the glove compartment, the portal of her secret tunnel to her friendly giant plush animals. She pushed the button hard all the way in but nothing happened. Leaning against her mother now, she felt the loving caress of that motherly hand cradle her head. The mother felt her right arm quiver, the sobbing of the innocent commenced.
photo by Andy Magee
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