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The Unnoticed

The Unnoticed

She waddled down the strip mall sidewalk, hair disheveled, clothes a mess and one thing on her mind.

A cigarette.
She reached her hand into the ashtray and dug through the butts and filth, finally satisfied with the best of the worst, she retrieved her prize.

She never looked up nor gave shame to those who may have been watching her. She turned slowly as in pain, waddled to a nearby bench, sat and then lit her smoke.
She peacefully inhaled her cigarette, perhaps a bit of relief as she gazed out into the sparsely filled parking lot.

Her moments past while not noticing the early mornings moist fall air, not noticing the sweetness of a little girls giggle as she hopped out of the family car, not noticing the flowers in a young man’s hand as he walked briskly out of the nearby grocery store.

She took another drag of her cigarette and looked down at her hands, she noticed the wrinkles, she noticed the bruises, and she noticed the holes on her shoes and the emptiness in her pockets.

As she finished her last drag of smoke, she stood, hunched over, half bent and waddled over to the grimy ashtray, putting out her cigarette, she took an extra moment and kept her gaze at the ground. Not finding anything, she slowly turned.

And…I turned wishing we could've exchanged gazes...just for a moment.