I am now a stalker.That’s a great opening line. Maybe I’ll use it in one of my next novels. But on second thought, it’s probably already been used. In this case, though dramatic, it’s not nearly the truth.

I have, though, become an observer. Instead of sitting in a dark, isolated coffee shop, I now choose those in well trafficked areas, and sit by the – preferably – sunlit window; ostensibly pecking away on my ancient laptop, but instead observing vignettes of life as they unfold on the other side of the glass. Everything looks like a painting to me now; and I sit, eyes hidden behind my prescription sunglasses, trying to recapture it on my digital canvas.

A segue… Isn’t ‘ancient laptop’ an oxymoron? But it’s true. This baby will never fit into a purse. It demands its own carrying case and can last barely half an hour without being plugged in. And it is sloooowwwww.

…and back. Today’s subject: a girl, apparently not yet twenty, pushing a baby carriage, and accompanied by another child slightly older than the one in the carriage. They meander down the street, the girl allowing the walking child to wander, but not too far. How can such a young one find herself responsible for two children and be so happy about it? I was dying to know.

As she approached the bakery, the answer became clear. A women emerged, and lifting the baby from the carriage, swung him? around in a circle; then swooped down to kiss the walking child and then the girl. Had I not been across the street and wearing sunglasses, I would surely have been blinded by the sparkle of the ring on her left ring finger.

After giving her mom a hug, ruffling the hair of the walking child, and kissing the baby, the girl ran off to join friends who appear to have been waiting for her. Still carrying the baby, her packages in the stroller, the mother followed at a slower pace, also allowing the walking child to wander. Their story looks like a happy one. But as I’ll never know it, I’ll just have to write my own.

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