She didn’t care who saw. Sylvia was hungry and spotted a well-dressed woman toss half a sandwich in the garbage bin.
Sucking in a deep breath, she exhaled several short puffs of steam and tucked a tiny braid behind her ear, courtesy of the red hair tie lying on the sidewalk. She’d remembered long ago her mother braiding her hair before she attended school. Sylvia wanted to look nice, even though she hadn’t washed her hair in weeks and it would probably take a lawn mower to get the tangles out. She let out a short chirpy laugh, laughing at the private joke.
Lifting her chin high, Sylvia strutted like a peacock over to the trash can and stood in front, claiming it as hers. She looked this way and that, scanning the faces of the crowd. No one cared what she did. No one looked her way.
She peered inside, spotted the yellow wrapper, and snatched it. Ugh. Fish. It wasn’t her favorite, but it would have to do.
Finding a bit of privacy in an alley, she slumped down and tossed her plastic bag of worldly possessions off to one side. Mmm…the fish actually tasted good. Maybe her tastes were changing.
Sylvia chewed and closed her eyes, visualizing her favorite dream—or was it? She remembered a time when she sat elegantly at the head of a grand table being waited on, butlers and maids catering to her every desire. Smiling faces of her family smiled back. They saw her then. They looked at her. They cared what she thought and asked her opinion.
A cold wind swept down the alley. The dream was fading. Sylvia knew it had to be a dream because no one sees her. She is invisible. They just see the blonde rats nest sitting atop her head, the threadbare tweed coat, dirty fingernails and smudged face—and walk on by.