Early-morning Pearl is a simple creature, a woman who dresses, gathers her things and heads to the bus stop without thought of why but with the knowledge, only, that she must.
I’m not saying that you should, but if you were to, say, ever require a favor of me, early morning is your best bet for a favorable outcome.
While a bit slow in the morning, I am also observational, my mind a clean slate upon which the early-morning commuters leave tiny, crabbed notes. Sometimes those notes are about interesting smells, sometimes they’re about the advisability of wearing spiked heels in a snow storm or giving a baby Diet Coke in a bottle.
This morning's observation boards the bus four stops after mine, sits across the aisle and several rows ahead of me. She is young, with fine features. Dressed in nothing you would be able to recall later, she is wearing no make-up.
As a woman who does not leave the house without lipstick, I note this in particular.
I watch as she digs through her purse and pulls out a tube of lotion.
And for the next 15 minutes, I watch as she applies lotion to her face. With tiny, delicate fingers, she is almost artistic, blending the lotion in concentric circles across her cheekbones, down the line of her nose, blending up and out in every conceivable direction.
The woman across the aisle from me watches as well, frowning. She self-consciously reaches up and touches her own cheek before returning to her book.
I away as well, look out the window, but I can’t help but look back, again and again, as the young woman continues. Fifteen full minutes of patting, pressing, fluttering ministrations done with the very tips of her fingers.
And then it is over. She pulls the cord and the bus pulls over at the next stop, and the young woman departs, taking her tiny fingers and her moisturized skin with her.
And early-morning Pearl stares out the window, and wonders about the people on the bus.