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Chipped Polish

by Sara Harricharan  
1/04/2008 / Short Stories

I see her sitting in the corner of the bus stop. From my view in the shadows opposite. Her shoulders are hunched up to her earmuffs and the telltale white wire alerts those around her that she is in her own world.

Her eyes are closed. Savoring the music, perhaps? I let myself look at her for a moment.

There is so much stress etched across her face. Every weary strand knitting itself together to draw strength from numbers.

Her hair is shiny and twisted into a fancy knot at the nape of her neck. Save for a colorful scarf, her neck is bare of jewelry. The scarf is the only bit of color in her expensive ensemble.

A full-length leather jacket, stylishly tied at the waist, brown boots peeping out from dressy slacks. She has a pair of fingerless gloves, that show themselves off as she holds her purse and ipod close.

Her fingernails are polished. But the polish is chipping. She picks at it, even as I watch her. Eyes opening to pay attention to a phone call coming in on her cellphone.

Her exhausted expression pulls itself together as she commits to yet another project. There are meaningless promises whispered through the phone and then the ipod is put away.

A scrap of paper is used to record the new information and she checks her watch, wondering about the bus.

The nail polish is reddish. A sort of red-purple. The ends are smooth and the tips are jagged.

They match the sparkly knit in her scarf as she tugs it away from her neck. She cannot feel my eyes on her.

Something silver glistens from her wrist and I move closer for a better look.

It is a heart, dangling from a charm bracelet, displayed for all to see.

Wind whips through the little booth and she draws her coat tighter about her as the bus pulls up to the curb.

I move from the shadows, to stand next to her, to protect her from the jostling crowd.

To touch her shoulder, I hesitate and then I call her name. "Andrea."

Her head jerks around so quickly, she walks right into the fellow in front.

Steadying her with one hand, I help her onto the bus. Guiding her to the back, I find two quiet seats.

Her nose is red and her mouth is open, but no sound comes out at all.

Disbelief and bewilderment capture her features. I try to keep my hands from smoothing her hair.

She is smiling now, figuring it out as I tuck my arm around her shoulders. "They let you out of work early."

"Just so I could walk you home." I kiss her forehead and hold her tight as the bus stop fades into the night. With her frosted hand, warming in mine, I'm content to ride home...with my lovely wife.

Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words.

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