I saw a woman smile. It was a smile that lifted the crease from her brow and made the tears that had welled in her eyes catch the sun just enough to make them diamonds refracting tiny reflections of hazel and golden brown. She had been dispirited a moment before, gripping a white and blue ticket that crumpled under the weight of last-chance desperation. A man wandered by with hands calloused, but gingerly holding the long necked broom with short steely bristles that he pushed in short che-che bursts. His face was worn with years of sun and the top of his jumpsuit was folded down in the heat showing the yellowed half moons that took a permanent dingy residence below each arm of his once white tank-top. He wore a belt that held the bulky uniform to him as though the lean muscles that still clung to his aging frame were once thicker and dense with the enthusiasm of youth. He had passed with a dutiful che-che lift, che-che lift of his broom that gathered the fallen scraps and tickets littering the ground. A quick glance to the woman, “How’d ya do?”
Followed by her glance down, her trembling fingers, the gulp of air that seemed frantic to escape like the tears in her eyes. The sink in her shoulders that seemed not only heavy with burden, but broken with desperation and despair. She finally un-fisted the crumpled ticket and let it tumble without ceremony into the pile lining the bristled teeth. He looked from the ticket back to her. He paused turning his chin into the midday sun and closing his eyes to its warmth,
“Well, good to have the health to play.”
He went on working. Che-che lift. Che-che lift.
I saw the woman smile.