Fiction · Poetry

Sunlight on the Number 9

April brings out the sunglassed ladies who don their frames on an afternoon bus ride through South Boston.

Yuppie chicks and their bug eyes and dark lenses hide vulnerable souls from interlocutors found on smart phone applications they meet over drinks. Polarized eyes aid the creation of plausible lies. Vanity is victorious.

There in the front of the Number 9 sits the faded woman with a bundle of grey hair frayed like the yarn of a forgotten knitting project. She stepped on at the Library, having spent the day paging over newspapers of her past. Bring the Fifties back, a revived blossoming. A happier time.

She, too, hides from the sun. Her armor are those thick censor bar shades. The perimeter a flat edge, unifying her brows before tracing a rectangular border down to the top of her wrinkled cheek. Two thick arms wrap back to her temples as her forehead sags over the upper edge.

Behind the tinted composite peacefully resides a smudged erasure of vainness, rubbed out by age and time, by minutes and days–incrementally replaced by brittle bones and waning eyesight. Unnoticed, not unseeing.

She looks across the aisle and sees the girls and their handbags. As she glimpses her reflection in their lensed faces minuscule muscles lift the skin on her cheeks upward. Rays of youth glisten from those framed mirrors, a gust of breath to clear the dust from a nearly-forgotten girlhood.

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