She Runs

She walks briskly down the sidewalk to the beat of the music pounding through her earphones, weaving in and out of the thick throng of bodies that all seem to radiate the same heat she’s feeling. Oh errands, how I hate theeeee…her mind hums, but she’s not really unhappy. The previous rain showers have kept her inside like a baton-wielding warden, and the threat is still looming across the skies in the form of thick, grey clouds.

But she’s out and about, with absolutely nothing in her way! Nothing in her way…truly nothing, if the pedestrian traffic light hadn’t just turned red. Another thirty seconds of her life goes down the drain. All part of life, she reasons, and her eyes wander around as if they believe it would help make time fly faster.

They alight on something shiny. Well, it was shiny compared to the damp concrete, and she takes a step closer to get a closer look.

The stoic face of her nation’s greatest ruler stares off to the side, as if trying to look dignified despite being on the face of a small-value coin.

She hesitates.

On one hand, she doesn’t want to be viewed as some sort of quasi-beggar. She’s not poor, thank-you-very-much. And the idea of having to stoop down in the clothes she’s wearing feels foreign, like the time she went to her father’s cousin’s funeral.

On the other hand, a coin is a coin is a coin. It still has value, no matter how small and dirty it is. Picking it up can mean the difference of asking for change, or being able to pay the exact amount for her next purchase.

She debates.

She peers out of her peripheral vision, hoping that no one notices her as she subtly bends down to pluck the coin from the ground…

The coin refuses to budge. Half-swallowed by the concrete, it mocks her, and her ears burn in mortification.

The light turns green, and she runs.

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