She sat there quietly, lost in her work. The keyboard clicked away as she wrote another email, the icons growing smaller and smaller on the screen, the more work she did. Pages of text, documents scattered about, and an overflowing table of material. She was working in the library, and seldom noticed even the slight distractions the workplace afforded. She worked for a few hours, then packed up, and headed out to the subway.
She had a 20 minute ride back to the small apartment she called home. It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t exactly where she wanted to be in her life, but it was where she was at that moment. She was resigned to that, and on the worst of days she longed to escape. The best of days were almost acceptable, and the absolute best of days allowed her to feel at home, even so far away from her family.
As she sat on the train, a rare luxury, she lost herself in her mind filled with work. Things still to be done tomorrow, things to be done tonight, things that should have been done weeks ago, and things that she realized wouldn’t get done despite her best intentions. These always fell into the ‘personal’ projects. Work paid the bills, and work got done.
“Does dinosaurs wear socks, mama?”, the little girl three seats down yelped loud enough for the entire car to hear. The mother was tired, a long day behind her, hoping that her daughter would stop asking questions about extinct animal’s footwear.
“I don’t know”, she mumbled to her child.
The little girl wasn’t happy with that response. She had recently learned about dinosaurs – these great big huge beasts that dominated all around them. They were magical in that they didn’t have to do anything all day other than look cool and eat things. They didn’t have parents to listen to, teachers to mind, or rooms to clean up. They weren’t bossed around to death, they were the boss. And their feet may have gotten cold, for all the little girl knew, and so would they have dinosaur sized socks or not? She had to find out.
So the little girl jumped up and wandered down the slim aisle of the train car. The woman, still pre-occupied with her thoughts, became aware of the little one’s presence approximately a second before she spoke.
“do you know if dinosaurs wear socks?”, the girl asked the woman.
Any other day, the woman would have smiled, but politely said “No” or “I don’t know”. But something in the girl’s eyes spoke to her. The girl, no more than 4, seemed to have nothing but excitement and wonderment in her eyes. No worries about the world, about asking people she didn’t know strange questions, or about spending her time on frivolous Jurassic explorations. No, the little girl just seemed innocently interested in the claw coverings of the T-Rex, or of Mosasaur mitts. Something begged the woman to indulge her.
“I suppose they must have”, the woman began. “Dinosaur’s didn’t live in houses”.
The girl’s eyes lit up further. “Ya… they lived outside!”, she eagerly said. The mother looked slightly down the car to see whom had started speaking to her daughter. Seeing the woman, the mother nodded in tacit endorsement of the interaction, happy to have the child spend time bothering someone else for once.
“And do you know what it’s like outside?”, the woman asked.
“It’s COLD!”, squealed the girl.
“Yes, so they must have had socks to keep their feet warm”, said the woman. The little girl nodded in approval.
Ten minutes later they had parted ways, their chat expanding to all sorts of dinosaur clothing and lifestyle. The girl, tired from her long conversation, curled up in the stroller her mother pushed, and the mother smiled at the woman, thanking her for making the child a bit more manageable. The woman would never see the child or mother again, thus was life living in the big city. But as she walked away, she mused to herself about the interaction.
“Life in the city is cold. But perhaps every so often, breaking away from the concerns of my life can make it warm. Just like the socks that the dinosaur’s wore”
Dedicated to a friend.