cali teen

bless you

Red tank.
Short denim jeans.
Orange hair growing out from a collision of blonde shades.
Black socks squeezed into matching flip flops.
Old rollie. Used and reused.
Sweet, classic Cali teenager.

Thirteen? 14? 16? No more than that.

She looks nervous, diverts her eyes.
“Can I share the table with you?” I ask.
Thumb in mouth ripping at skin, she nods with eyes drawn away.
Staring off in the distance…

She looks passed the line of impatient coffee addicts, through the back wall, as if waiting to get caught.
A father? Boyfriend? Cousin? A dysfunctional mother?
No one loved me enough to stop me.
My mind goes wild with horror stories.
Too much television.

I sneeze.
She doesn’t say anything. I clock this.
A woman essay-typing 2 tables down turns, “Bless you.”
“Thank you,” I tell the woman through my nod.
Bless you, I say under my breath.
Yes you, sweet Cali teen, creating potholes in your thumbs.
Don’t you know you are blessed?

Not sure what trip you’re taking – be it bus, train or side streets.
You are blessed.
You are blessed.
Your are blessed.
Do you believe it?
Hell, do I?