The Bel-Air

Had something interesting happen on the walk to work today.
I saw a motel called the Bel-air.
This place was a real shit hole.
I walked up to the intersection and waited for the signal to cross.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a beautiful
young Hispanic girl riding a little kids type bike in the
parking lot of the motel.
She must have been 15 or 16.
Her hair was long and jet black, almost blue in the sun.
We locked eyes and she quickly looked down.
I got the feeling she was embarrassed to be in that parking lot and having fun on that bike.

I hated the fact that she felt that way and what
I hated even more was the fact that I couldn't tell her otherwise.
It was like she knew, that I knew it only cost $120 a week to stay there
and that's where you go when you're down on your luck.
She rode around the corner and was gone.
I kept walking, breaking a sweat as it was getting close to
78 degrees in the Texas sun and I haul ass when I walk.
About 4 more blocks down I passed a group of Hispanic men
that are there everyday waiting for work on the side of the road.
I did my usual nod and wave and kept walking.
Instantaneously something dawned on me.
A connection of sorts.
The young girl's father could've been sitting amongst those men waiting.
Waiting to do an honest days work to pay for more time at the Bel-air.
A place where he can rest afterwards.
A place where his daughter can be free to ride her bike in the sun,
under a bright blue sky and dream of better tomorrows...


Ray Strickland 2/18/13

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