Standing on the street corner the young woman waited for the signal to change from the red hand to the white figure of a man. It was the lunch hour in the city; the streets were filled with cars whooshing by, horns blaring in impatience. The drivers rushing to get to big important lunch meetings. The young woman wasn’t in a rush like the citizens of the great city, she wasn’t even sure of her destination.
More people came to stand at the same street corner waiting to cross. They nudged and pushed the young woman. One man’s sharp elbow swung into her chest as he raised his arm to check his watch. A woman, in stiletto heels, stepped on the young woman’s sandaled foot; she bit her tongue to keep from crying out. Soon she was completely surrounded by business people all wanting to cross the street. A large man blocked her view from the traffic light. She wouldn’t know when to cross the street.
The people around her were starting to get agitated. Why hadn’t the light changed yet? It had been two minutes at least. Their boss was going to kill them if they were late to another lunch with their important client. Do you know why the light hadn’t change? The package needed to be delivered in the next fifteen minutes or they would loose the account. She smiled to herself as she heard the spoken and unspoken worries of her street corner compatriots. She knew that it had only been 30 seconds and everyone would get to their destination on time.
A loud siren started to blare down the block; everyone turned their heads as one to see what was coming. A bright red fire truck with lights flashing zoomed past the street corner. A white ambulance followed in its wake. Everyone grumbled in unison that now they would have to wait even longer to cross. This city is too loud. The young woman turned to look at a hunched old woman, standing between two men in suits. She had brought her old gnarled hands up to cover her ears, but didn’t seem to be helping. The young woman gave her an empathetic smile. She too thought the city was too loud; she couldn’t wait to get home where it was quite. The old woman looked back at her, eyes widened in what the younger woman would have called fear. She started to reach out to the elder but she was jostled from behind.
People started pushing her forward, the light had changed. The young woman decided to walk at her own pace and not be bullied by passersby. She walked leisurely as the rest of the people rushed by her eager to be on their way. A bike messenger sped close to her right side; the movement of air caused her skirt to flap like in a windy breeze. She almost cried out but realized the man on the bike was already to far away to hear.
Reaching the other side of the street she around to get her bearings; to her left was Jefferson Street and to her right was Hilson Street. She turned to the left and walked down the sidewalk, oblivious to the store fronts and the people walking towards her. She enjoyed the feel of the sun on her face as her mind started to wander. She did not enjoy her reverie for long as a young man with a backpack slung over one shoulder and a bus pass in hand ran into her. The force knocked her down to her back; her feet sprawled out before her. The student ignored her as he continued towards the bus shelter. People seemed to ignore her predicament. She stood to her feet and brushed herself off. Letting out a breath she continued on her way.
Rounding a corner she saw an electronics store with clean reflective windows. She stopped and looked at her reflection. Her short brown hair was slightly mussed; she ran her fingers through the short tresses. She straightened her skirt; she noticed a few red stains on the skirt. Her head was starting to hurt from when she was knocked down by the student. Squinting slightly to get a better view of her reflection she put her face closer to the glass. A large bruise had formed on the side of her head.
She changed her focus on the display on the window. A large plasma TV was on sale. But instead of showing off the quality of the screen, by playing a high definition movie, the noon news was on. She couldn’t hear what the news anchor was saying but the headlines told the story:
No leads in the death of unidentified young woman
A graphic picture flashed on the screen of a body covered in a white sheet. The feet were the only thing uncovered. The young woman had been wearing Birkenstock sandals and had recently manicured feet. The bright pink nail polish could barely be made out. The young woman looked down at her feet. Her toes had been painted a bright pink, one nail had broken off. The wide leather straps of her sandals seemed to be mocking her. She looked back at her reflection and watched as she slowly faded away.