The woman sat on a park bench and watched the people in it. One young lady, who had just come from the public swimming pool was ringed around in the middle of a bunch of young men….the whole group golden and lovely people…not wearing much more than sunny smiles and the young lady basked in the attention she got….The woman watched other girls leave the pool too….they were not as lovely as the one with all the men but some of them had boyfriends and they held hands as they went to their cars but she noticed even those men where staring hungrily at the golden girl. The Golden One was at the top of her world and ruled it with all the pride and joy of youth. As she passed the woman she looked at her and pity crossed her face for a fleeting second as their eyes met and the young golden girl noticed the too wide hips and the long dress and then she looked away and laughed and another young fellow laughed and soon the forgot the woman sitting there….The woman watched as mothers brought their children from the wading pool…some of the woman looking old and harassed and no men were with them as they tried to herd their unruly screaming laughing children to the waiting cars….some of the young men made comments about the single mothers as they went past….how much too fat this one was or how that one had a hot body but he did not want a woman with kids…the woman in the long dress sat and listened….and watched.
One of the young men tripped over the woman on the benches’ walker that she used to help her go long distances….he gave her a look of pity and annoyance and scorn for her very old, long dress. behind her the woman could hear the golden girl cry as she broke her fingernail and the young men all tried to comfort her but none of them offered to help any of the mothers trying to carry water wings and floaties and grab children’s hands all at once…as the mothers passed she could see them looking at the golden one with sadness or envy or anger…and looking at the men with hatred.
the woman knew if any one else saw this scene they would see a group of laughing vibrant lively people leaving a public swimming pool as it closed in the evening but she knew they would not even try to look for what she could see….the reality…
as the park cleared she rose very slowly and groaned a little bit with the pain of movement….slowly slowly she made her way back to her one room at the facility for semi invalids and wished that she was hiking over mountains in her dreams…..