My friend and I didn’t talk much as we slammed  the sedan’s doors.  Hands in pockets, and hunching into our fleece jackets, we strode quickly to the Starbucks door.  I opened it first, then continued to hold it as a blonde, disheveled young woman of about 25 entered.  There was a barely visible infant strapped to her front, an older toddler with red, chapped cheeks and black, serious eyes in a backpack.  She was trying to lead a preschooler in by the hand. The preschooler, realizing there were a lot of people in here, did a rag doll.

“My hand!  You’re hurting it!” cried out the towhead with dark eyes.

A stab of sympathy turned my heart over in my chest.

“You can go ahead if you need to,” I invited.

“Thank you,”  she said softly.

That’s when I noticed, in spite of a colorless complexion with no makeup and pale, blue eyes, there was a strange glow and softness to the woman.  Her voice was low, gracious, as she corrected her wayward child;  with just enough steel behind it that the child stood erect.

The woman’s  underweight frame was carried with shoulders squared, neck lifted to it’s full swan length.  Her mussed, hastily  swept up hair had a few occasional ringlets that rebelled, softening her square jaw.   The most arresting and ELEGANT to me, though, was the serene eyes.  She seemed to be in a bubble of peace that settled my own heart.  It was completely contradictory to the chaotic breakfast hour in the coffee shop.

After we had paid and received our hot chocolates, I glanced back one last time.  I didn’t see the woman as I left, but the image of her eyes gave me bizarre dreams that night.


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