Monday, March 3, 2014

The girl with the red bag

In a quiet corner of the park, on a solitary old rusty bench, is a girl with a red bag. She comes here everyday, pulls out a pen and notebook, and starts to write. On most days, pigeons gather at her feet and she feeds them birdseed. Sometimes they don't come. But she always carries the birdseed in her red bag, just in case they decide to show up.

The regular park-goers know her simply as the girl with the red bag, always to be found at that same old rusty bench, in sunshine or rain. Her eyelids, dark and lowered, would be raised every now and then to glance at passers by. Some people like to stop and chat with her; a few even sit down next to her for a while. Others merely jog past with an acknowledging nod or a quick smile or wave, which she returns. She looks on after the people she talks to as they walk or jog out of her sight, and then returns to her writing.

The girl with the red bag, with her hair loose around her shoulders, flying across her lowered pensive face in the breeze, is a regular part of the morning walk of those who care to notice. Sometimes they see her frown at her notebook; sometimes she smiles. Occasionally her eyes are moist. When she is not engaged in conversation with a park-goer, she is buried deep in her notebook.

Today, I stop in front of the rusty old bench. It has been empty for three days. It is missing a certain red bag full of writing and birdseed. The usual people at the park have asked each other about her for the last two days. Today they seem to go about their usual business. I shrug and move on. Maybe she will come tomorrow. Maybe not. I have somewhere I have to be. 

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