By T.S. Bazelli
I say hello to Mr. Newman as he walks down the street, newspaper tucked under one arm, paper coffee cup in the other. He brushes past me, without acknowledgment, so I keep on walking. The crowd parts as if I were a pebble in a stream, but the people here do not return my gaze, though I know them all by name.
They walk with their heads down, or looking straight ahead but not really watching. They into their cell phones, listen to their IPods. Going, always going.
“Hello Cassandra, big interview today right?” I say tilt my head and ask, but she’s too busy fishing through her purse for her keys. Around the corner is a newspaper stand. Joe’s tucked into the wooden booth, smoking a cigarette and listening to the radio. “I’d put my money on the Yankees today.” Of course, he never listens.
Someone clips my shoulder, and a few soot stained feathers flutter to the ground. They’re quickly cut to pieces under the tread of leather soled shoes, stiletto heels. I tuck my wings closer to my body, get them out of the way. They’re already in bad order. There’s a patch where the feathers were caught in an elevator door the other week when I wasn’t paying attention. I can still feel the tingling pain of it, of raw skin not yet healed. I should really take a break, but there’s no one to relieve me, and I’ve got a job to do.
The corner of First and Main St. is where I usually hang out. Something’s always bound to happen. I crouch near the edge of the sidewalk, watchful, and I don’t have to wait long. Sophia, beautiful Sophia, who was born into the world on a full moon night, is walking towards the intersection. She’s arguing on the phone with one of her client’s.
I watch as one well heeled foot steps into the road. She doesn’t notice that the light is still red. Her cheeks are flush with anger, the colors matching. I move fast and there’s no time for politeness. I knock her out of the way, as a car speeds past. Sophia falls flat on her back, onto the sidewalk, out of danger.
Her dark brown eyes are wide. For a moment I think she see’s me, but who am I kidding? It’s just an idle day dream. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” I murmur out of habit.
She gets up, her feet unsteady, her eyes unfocused, as she searches the pavement for her scattered things. I fetch a tube of red lipstick from the gutter, and place it beside her wallet. She gathers it into her purse, and smooths her hair as she stands.
No one else says a thing. No one else comes to help. She’s still shaking as she continues down the road, and I follow her until she disappears into the safety of the her office building, just to make sure she’s OK.
There’s a park at the end of this road. In the middle of the day there are few people around, and I can stretch my wings out wide. I almost fill up the width of the parched grass. I flap my wings a few times, and send dust scattering as I ascend.
I soar above the city, and my wings ache, as I hold myself aloft, as I search the streets for those that need help, as I pick out those that need saving. I wonder if anyone even cares. Not a single person looks up.