Russ Bickerstaff

A woman’s feet had come to rest in front of an intersection. A sports car drove by followed rapidly by a semi-truck with an advertisement for beer on the side of it. She didn’t notice it because she was looking at the glowing screen she held in her hand. Blue eyes idly looked at news from half a continent away as a large, glowing red light across the street was accompanied by a glowing red hand that had signalled her to stop and wait. And so she did. And as she did, she looked over the news from the nation’s capital.

A station wagon rolled by. As did a minivan and a few other vehicles including a trendy-looking pizza delivery boy. Another pair of feet had come to rest at the intersection not far from the woman’s. They were in expensive leather from the other side of the world. The shoes had been polished only slightly more than an hour before coming to rest there not far from the woman’s. There were amazingly meticulous silken socks that rested within those shoes and within the socks? A perfectly manicured pair of feet that had been in expensive designer sandals on an exotic beach only a few days prior to that moment at the intersection under the red light and glowing red hand.

She might have been moved to regard the one who was standing in those socks and those shoes, but she was finding words on the screen in her hand far too interesting to manage much of any kind of an interest in the world around her. All she was really aware of was a piece of legislation that was stuck in committee half a continent away and the glowing red hand that rested on a traffic light above the other side of the intersection.  The one standing in those socks in those shoes may well have been regarding her a bit closer than she would have been comfortable with had she been at all aware of anything outside of the text in her hand and the hand glowing on the traffic light across the street from both of them.

A woman sped by on a bike with something in a messenger bag. There was an old woman with an empty stroller crossing the intersection from the other side under the blessing of a green light as the woman and the one in the shoes faced away from her at approximately 90 degrees continuing to wait for a red light to become green only moments into the future. The old woman with the empty stroller continued on down the street not too terribly aware of either of the people who were waiting there at the intersection as she passed them one footstep at a time pushing the empty mass of the stroller.

The large metal groaning of a city dump truck growled by. Then the clean gleam of a city bus. Across the street there was more glowing red facing a woman who was completing reading a story about legislation half a continent away. There was a social media feed to check as long as the red continued to prevail and the woman got lost in a few photos of a few children and some strange memes that mixed pop culture with humour and current events. One of the feet in one of the socks in one of the shoes not far from her began to gently tap. There might have been some sort of a sigh developing in a pair of lungs which were suspended above the feet inside the same body they were attached to.

The red light prevailed. The waiting continued. There was more traffic. The old woman with the empty stroller would have been a bit of a distant memory if either the woman or the one in the shoes standing not far from her had bothered to notice her in the first place. (They hadn’t.) There was a shout that carried down the block that mixed and mingled with the sounds of a couple of car horns and so many transmissions and fan belts and footfalls and heel clicks and barks and things that were swimming around that particular intersection at that particular time on that particular day.

There was another who had come to slouch near the intersection. There was exhaustion in the limbs of the other. A recent physical altercation with a certain woman regarding a child who was not in a stroller. Perspiration and a quick glance around revealed recognition of a face suspended above the lungs in the body which also housed the feet wearing the socks and the shoes. Recognition of the face atop all of that might have been cause for alarm as it all added-up to someone who was married to a woman who had a baby who had been in the stroller before it was empty. A business associate who was quite evidently unaware of the significance of the stroller or the woman standing nearby who was looking over pictures of the child on her phone totally unaware that it was in quite a bit of peril at that moment inadvertently involved in kidnapping and extortion that was going on in and amongst its parents who were involved with a deal involving legislation that was stalled in committee half a continent away.

There was a gentle calculus adding-up somewhere in the back of it all that may well have allowed a few more seconds to pass. There was a glowing red hand above the intersection which had begun to blink. Shortly it would disappear. There would be a brief moment without light on the other side of the street. Then there would be a green light and a gleaming white shape suggestive of a human walking. All would continue. The slouch would regard the face on the body with the lungs and the feet and the socks and shoes and things. There would be no recognition in that moment. Time would move on as time always does. But for the moment, they’re still there waiting for a green light that we all know is coming.

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