There are a few other people in the neighborhood who are out in the early morning. Mr. Hudsen from around the corner has his own circuit and he passes me on the other side of the street. He always pauses and gives me a little bow, I wave and smile back. He’s the only person I see every day. There’s a woman about my age who wears a bright purple scarf, she waves hello with her whole arm. There’s an elderly woman who moves with a solid, steady pace, she quirks her lips in a sort of smile as she passes me by, never losing the rhythm of her steps. Once there was a young girl on the swings in the park –her whole face full of joy at the movement.
Some days when I get to the park I sit on a bench and watch for the first sliver of sun to rise over the mountains. With the sun the rest of the world wakes up, and my quiet morning walk isn’t just mine anymore. It’s my cue to head home and start the rest of my day.
This morning I got up thirty minutes before sunrise. I startled myself in the mirror as I was heading for the door. Does that ever happen to you? You glance in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself, wonder who that stranger in your house is?
Walking, I was trying to decide if there was a specific thing about my appearance that had startled me. I waved and smiled at Mr. Hudsen but was mostly lost in my own thoughts. I arrived at the park and headed for the bench. I was nearly there when a young woman running over the small hill tripped on something, and fell headlong to the ground. By the time I got to her she was already sitting up, wiping off her hands. I offered her a hand up which she took.
“Thank you” she said. “I’ve seen you here before. I’m Lilith.” She let go of my hand.
“Anne.” I touched my chest with my hand in the universal symbol of me. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ve seen you before. Do you run in this park often?”
“I don’t always run. But I’m usually here at this time.” Lilith looked at me with joyful eyes and her lips quirked in a sort of smile, as she wrapped her purple scarf more tightly. She patted me on the arm, and started walking away in a steady rhythm. A jolt of recognition made me gasp.
“Wait – please! I think I have seen you, but … you looked different?” Lilith stopped and turned to face me. “How do you - Which one are you?” I cringed at having said that out loud, but wanted to know so badly.
“Who we are depends on who does the looking, don’t you think?” Lilith winked at me, and there were wrinkles around her eyes that hadn’t been there before. “I’m just me.”
I stared at the woman, trying to find the right question to ask, the right words, that would help me understand how she could be so very different on different days.
“We are all of us alive for our whole lives, aren’t we?” Lilith said kindly. “Thank you again for your help today. Sometimes I get ahead of myself.” She laughed, a deep earthy wonderful laugh, hearing it made me feel blessed. “You should sit or you’ll miss the sun.”
Somehow I was moving to the bench before I even realized it. When I looked back the woman, Lilith, was gone. I faced the mountains and saw the glimmer of the sun nearly arrived. I sat and watched the sun rise and thought about who I was today. I wondered what me had looked in the mirror this morning, and which me she had been startled to see.
****LJ Idol rolls on - here is my entry for "the blue hour" and here's a link to all the other amazing writers.****