Little Red-Haired Girl Sightings: Downtown
The Little Red-Haired Girl was all grown up. She'd just stepped outside the bar when I noticed her. It sure had been a long time. She was wearing jeans and a leather jacket; I had to think of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. But she was still the same Little Red-Haired Girl. Maybe borderline rock-chick, but still her. She didn't see me on the bus across the street. I waved, and mouthed, 'It's me, Chuck,' but I guess her view was obstructed. She was busy with her props, phone in one hand, cigarette in the other. She leaned toward some stranger, holding up the cigarette. He cupped his hands around a flame and she bent slowly into it. Busy talking on the phone, she didn't even say thank you! I thought I saw a golden-blue bruise on her cheek but it could have been a rock-chick make-up thing.
The last of the passengers boarded the bus, just as the light turned red again. I watched her, the Little Red-Haired Girl, smoking and talking on the phone, looking nowhere. Boy, was she pretty, even prettier than way back. We got a green as she was finishing her call. She blew the last of the smoke skyward, dropped the butt to the ground, and lifted a big black boot. And then she crushed the life out of it.
Looking up for a moment, I thought she would see me, but I guess she didn't. The bus pulled away and I craned my neck back. I saw 'Ali' written in diamond studs across the back of her leather jacket and wondered: Was it supposed to mean that she was The Greatest? I don't see why she would have changed her name. A bouncer held the door open and made some comment as she passed back into the bar, but she didn't respond.
She didn't even look at him.
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