Wearing Purple

Tuesday December 30, 2003

I really know better than to stare at my fellow BART passengers, but the couple diagonally across the aisle riveted by attention. The only thing we had in common was our longevity, but it was our difference in style that triggered a wistfulness in my soul. I felt to white-sliced-bread as I looked at them. 

The woman was all in purple—tight knit top, pants, shoulder bag, shoes. Only the socks were black. Her long thin hair, colored an optimistic shade of yellow and flowing down her right breast, seemed a glamorous contradiction to her chunky, cheerful, matter-of-fact persona. 

She seemed oblivious to my attention as she focused on her fit-looking male companion whose style mirrored the ‘60s: embroidered work shirt, jeans cinched with a silver-buckled wide belt and worn work boots. His long gray hair hung in a tidy pony tail. 

Such a pang of envy engulfed me as I fantasized their exciting lives—jazz concerts, political demonstrations, square dancing. Were they vegans? I wondered. Did they grow pot? Sleep naked? 

My reveries ended when the train reached Powell Street station. The man rose and offered his companion his arm. She reached for a white staff that had been tucked out of sight and the moved smoothly out the door. 

Once again, I reminded myself, “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.”