The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Solitude with an Encore

Mom's poppies.

Mom’s poppies.

She’s sitting alone, yet she wraps herself in a full embrace under a red pashmina. She looks meek, but wears ballet flats with sparkles. A hardback peers out the top of her purse–a large shapeless bag adorned in poppies. She’s in a brown maxi dress that doesn’t catch on any curves. She is long and straight as an arrow, but slumps forward and down. Even in her twenties, she hunches as she must have in elementary school. Her hair is collected in a set of bobby pins. She catches herself biting her nails before the song starts. There’s not a soul within two seats of her.

As the music fills the stadium, she gives herself permission to close her eyes and sit up a bit. She beams upward under the stars. Alone and at peace, savoring the sounds, she lets tears stream off her chin until the song comes to a close. Then she covers, dries her cheeks as an obligation, prepares for company.

Near the exit, she is joined by three friends who chide her for missing the encore! She smirks to herself as they move toward their car.  Happy to chat with her friends, happy to laugh with the crowd, the final song alone was her highlight. Her happy seclusion seemed her finest moment.

–Red Rocks, Colorado.

5 comments on “Solitude with an Encore

  1. suej
    June 19, 2013

    I love your observation of details, and your words ” She’s in a brown maxi dress that doesn’t catch on any curves.” – brilliant!

  2. joannerambling
    June 19, 2013

    Your words took me there and that is a special gift……………….

    • Joanne–I’m so glad! I felt really fortunate to catch her in such an open moment, despite the crowd. I would say I missed the encore myself, but it was worth every hurriedly dashed note.
      Thank you!!
      -Paige

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