The Girl on the Sidewalk
Melissa trudged along, her burden slung from both of her shoulders. As she walked a sort of hypnotic pattern of click-clack, click-clack nearly lulled her into the complacency of stopping and looking for a taxi. She grimaced and shifted the weight upward for the hundredth time; the plastic sound reverberated through the narrow street, echoing off the brick facades of a neighborhood well past its prime.
A little girl watched her out a window, eyes wide in wonder. Melissa winked.
She came to a busy street. She waited, then ran across the pavement toward the other side. Her fingers, sweaty despite the chill of the morning, clung to the plastic tubes. She made it safely across the intersection, but then her shoe caught on the dirty edge of the sidewalk. She stumbled, almost fell. Her fingers no longer held. Forty-four hula hoops slid from her arms and fell to the ground in an absurd, colorful cacophony.
“You all right miss?” Croaked a voice. An old man, just standing there, she hadn’t even noticed him.