Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"The Pink Ladies"

By Camincha

There they were on a grey, cold June day at the corner of 6 th Street and Bryant in San Francisco. They stood festive, poised, as if smiling at her, as if to say, hey have a good day! And remember, they waved, things are never as bad as they seem.

She looked 'round. Why had she never seen them before? Why had she never noticed this vibrant pink heather growing at this otherwise drab corner in San Francisco.

Next door was the Crummy Coffee Shop with those half- dead outdoor geraniums sitting in dried boxes outside. Inside they were serving the worst coffee in the world. Down the street was that grey cement building often mistaken for the jail sitting round-the-corner at 7 th and Bryant.

The Pink Ladies were oblivious. They didn't notice the heavy traffic barreling off the 280 freeway ramp. They didn't seem to mind the cars or the soupy fog or the light drizzle. Ah the Pink Ladies. Each group a merry-go-round under the trees. Just standing there, ready to please.

She counted six of them. After she passed them she thought, maybe I just imagined this.

But no, on her way home that evening, there they were again. So flirtatious. They winked. They waved. They greeted her. And other passersby. She stopped. She watched while the Pink Ladies smiled at a homeless man pushing his Safeway cart. She watched while they tried to trip a business suit going briskly on his way.

When the man said, "What ya'think ya'doing?"

The Pink Ladies -- the color of lipstick or nail polish -- were all in a titter. They brushed off his remark in that flirty way they have. And they called after him: "Slow down good looking. Don't wear yourself out."

And later, they reminded her once again, "Remember, things are never as bad they seem."

Camincha is a penname for a California-based writer who contributes frequently to this column and other on-line outlets.

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