Character Sketch #7


She wanders aimlessly, munching on a chocolate chip cookie. A handbag swings from each forearm, one brown, the other hot pink. The fashion she wears is miles away from the freshly purchased pair of Doc Martens she carries; are they a gift or a midlife crisis?

Her pink hair has been growing out for weeks; the dark roots don’t lie. She texts as she rides the panda scooter with her son. He imagines picking up speed, the wind blowing in his hair, and he laughs aloud. 

She’s here nearly every day, pushing the stroller with two golden-haired children. She has a noticeable limp in her right leg, and she has facial piercings. I know people judge her for them. Ears, eyebrows, nose, lips–all decorated with plain stainless barbells and captive bead rings. Her children are always joyful and well-behaved; perhaps the judgers should mind their own business. 

She strides rapidly in her BDUs, cover in hand, not a hair out of place in her tidy bun–except for a single escaping tuft meekly poking out from the side. But it’s been a long day. 

Red glasses. Red watch. School uniform. Too young to drive, by far, but at the mall alone; neither parents nor friends in attendance. He reseats his red glasses and swings his arms without restraint. 

Character Sketch #5

Furry hat and mustard shoes, on a mission to shop. The bags twist around her wrist as she marches, but she continues on. 

She pushes her baby in the rented fire truck stroller and complains to her friend. “I’m 17, I’m halfway legal. She can’t really tell me what to do.”

She curls her tongue to catch the ice cream before it drops onto her arm. He laughs, elbowing her to encourage a mess. She artfully dodges him. 

His head hangs, arms cuffed together behind his back. One police officer rests a hand on his bicep; the other follows closely behind. Security trails after. 

Her hair is green and gray and charcoal, piled meticulously atop her head. The shoulder-riding baby near her can’t keep his eyes off that hair.