She walked the sidewalk by the busy city street. Even though her ipod was loud, she could still hear the steady car engines as they passed, but the deafening sound of a city bus would nearly drown out the music. She hears the sound of a woman’s heels catching up to her. Click, clack, click, clack.
She walks by an alley way and gets a strong whiff of something foul. It’s an awful stench, perhaps rotting fish. The alley is next to Catcher’s Restaurant. She sits on a city bench for a while. She hears a deafening siren. All the cars simultaneously move over to let it by. It stops in front of a tall, brown apartment building. She watches as the ambulance workers wheel out a gurney, on top a sheet draped body. She adjusts her radio station and starts walking again. She hears some giggling behind her and soon feels a tug on her blouse.
“Hey Francine, are you going to the Mall with us today?” It was Maggie and Amber.
“Nah, can’t go today, have to go home and make supper.”
“You’re always makin’ supper. Why don’t you just ditch that and come along with us.”
She watches as her friends walk away. She thinks; they have plenty of money. It’s not as much fun to go to the Mall without any money. She looks down at her worn jeans. Her mother’s friend had given away a big box of her daughter’s clothes. They weren’t bad, but they were not new.
She looks at her watch. She cringes. It’s about time for her mother to get home from work. She thinks of her daddy. She hasn’t seen him in such a long time. Ever since the divorce, he comes by more and more seldom. She sees his black hair, and big blue eyes. She doesn’t ever want to forget that warm face. He always told her she was pretty and that he was proud of her. She missed him.
She looks at her watch again. She knows her mom won’t be home yet, but she knows Mack probably will be. She misses her. They used to talk, and they used to laugh. She remembers the last words Mack said to her, “You’re not going to amount to anything.” She feels the familiar sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.
As she turns a corner, she hears the sound of a motorcycle. It is nearing her and slowing down. She turns around. It is Jake Miles. He had already pulled over to the curb. Her mother had told her to stay away from his type. She said he was way too old for her, and only wanted one thing.
She looked at his face. He was handsome. She felt that special feeling in her stomach whenever he was around. He made her feel pretty. He made her feel wanted. She watches as his tattooed arms pull off his helmet. She is cautious, but curious too.
She pulls the earphones out of her ears and hears him say, “Hi beautiful, want a ride?”
“I don’t think I should. Mother said it wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“Well, mother isn’t here, is she? I think you would look real fine sitting on the back of my bike with that pretty blonde hair blowing in the breeze.” He reaches out and feels her hair. “It looks just like corn silk, and it feels like it too. Nice.”
Jake had been trying to get her on that bike for a long time. In a moment’s time she remembers all her teen fantasies. A wonderful man would take her away from everything that was bad in her life and replace them with everything that was good. Jake was not necessarily the picture she had always envisioned, but no one else seemed to be interested in her. What possible harm could it do to ride one time with him on his bike? He was right; mother wouldn’t have to know. She looked around her as she climbed up on the bike.
“That’s more like it.” He said as he put his helmet back on. She heard the loud throttle of the engine, and hoped it would drown out the beating of her heart. He revved up the motor and they were off. There were some pigeons feeding on street scraps, and they watched as her innocence passed by.
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