Ahhhh, it feels like I haven't put anything up in sooo long! I'm still mulling over the final drabble for The Great Equalizer, which I promise will be updated someday. But that's not important right now.
I'm very retrosexual, which is really the only reason this little fic came about. And the fact I've been listening to the Hair soundtrack nonstop. Me hopes ya'll enjoy!
The sign wavered in the wind as Doc swept the storefront down. Every now and then, he would glance down at his watch, sometimes to check the time, and others to just make sure his reliable Rolex still worked. He knew he had no need to be so worried about the time because he knew she would show up; she was never one who broke a promise. And today was especially important: today marked ten years.
A lot had changed throughout the city in ten years. More buildings, more people, and recently, Doc saw more hippies than street gangs roaming the streets. Many would argue that the hippies were worse than gangs ever were, but Doc begged to differ. Clearly, the people who hated the protest sign-bearing teenagers never witnessed what gang warfare can do. Maybe that was why Doc was sympathetic to the longhaired kids who passed by the store. Once upon a time, he associated with the Jets and the Sharks who had been considered social outcasts from their adult peers, just like the hippies. Doc supposed maybe that was his purpose in life: providing a place for the misfits.
Doc snapped his head up. Standing on the sidewalk were two kids he had seen before: a boy and a girl, maybe around eighteen. Both had the easily recognizable long hair and the similar (somewhat exotic) style of dress.
"Something like that," Doc said. "Where are you off to?"
The boy shrugged. "Don't know. The day's still young."
Doc nodded. He could never get over the breezy, no worries attitude that the kids before him possessed. The boy who stood before Doc now once told him everyone has that energy within them, but all the demands of society drain that energy from you. Doc wasn't sure if he believed the boy or not, but it was still food for thought.
"You know man, this afternoon is a big day," the girl said. Her voice was unscathed, soft like a child's. "In the park today; we're gonna make them hear us."
"I see." Doc was tempted to ask her why. Why did they find it so important to huddle together in the park and make speeches about peace and love? Why did they gather under the highway bridges at night and strum beat up guitars? And why, why didn't he understand them? Doc bit his lip. Had he thought the same things about gang wars years ago?
Then, he thought of Maria. Maria, who had advocated peace and love. Maria, whom he had formed a friendship with and the reason why he was outside sweeping the steps. Maria, who had not given up her energy to society, even now, as a grown woman.
"If you don't mind sticking around a bit, I think there's someone you'd enjoy meeting."
Around twelve, the door to Doc's clamored open. Doc, positioned behind the counter, nodded to the boy and the girl seated at the table.
"Good afternoon, Maria." Doc felt a smile tugging at his lips. At age twenty-six, Maria's youthful innocence still clung to her being. She'd gotten married two years ago, to an older man who enjoyed painting and sailing. He and Maria shared similar views on diminishing the lines of race when it came to romance, so it was no surprise they got along so well.
"Buenos tardes, Doc." Maria's eyes shifted to the corner. "Who are your friends?"
Doc stepped out from behind the counter. "This is Paul and Cat; I thought they might enjoy meeting you."
"Well, any friends of yours are friends of mine, right?"
Paul and Cat smiled, pleasing Doc. He knew the three of them would get along.
"Yeah, exactly," Cat replied. She leaned back and brought a finger to her lip. "You're a Libra, aren't you?"
Maria cocked her head. "I do not know; I never read those things."
"When's your birthday?"
Cat smiled. "Just as I thought."
A giggle escaped Maria's lips. She had seen plenty of hippies around the city. Once, when she and her husband, Fredrick, went on a picnic in the park, one gave her a flower and a string of love beads. Maria had taken extra care to dry and press the flower and the love beads hung over her vanity mirror. There was something endearing about the small gifts. To some, they may of seemed mundane, but Maria appreciated random acts of kindness.
But although Maria had seen plenty of hippies, she never actually stopped and spoke to one. Her coworkers, who were now middle-aged, college educated office workers (Maria found a new job after Madame Lucia's closed; she just couldn't keep up with the factories popping up like mushrooms across the country), complained about the hippies nonstop. They called their cause a "sinking ship" and spat that they should get a real job instead of infesting the parks. Maria usually remained quiet during these discussions, feigning a phone call coming in to her receptionist desk. She remembered what it was like to be ridiculed for who she was, something her white, middle class coworkers would never understand.
"Once, on my way home from work, I stopped in the park to listen to one of those speeches," Maria began. "Believe me when I say it may seem like no one hears you, but they will. Someday."
"That's what we're hoping for," Paul said. "Things can't keep going on the way they are. Too many people are dying."
"I understand. Really, I do." Maria wasn't sure if her tears were from the mixture of patchouli and sandalwood drifting in the air, or if she was still a bit shaken from that night so many years ago. The only other person who she ever mentioned that night to was Fredrick. He was an understanding man who thought nothing less of Maria for what she had given to Tony. And Maria loved him, this she knew for a fact. But there were times she wondered: what would a life with Tony of been like?
Maria felt the warmness of a loving hand against her own. She glanced up. Cat had her pale hand against Maria's. As Maria admired the rings adorning the girl's fingers, Cat spoke.
"You know what it's like to lose, I can tell. You've lost someone you really care about."
Two people, actually, Maria thought. She nodded. "Yes. I lost have someone I care about."
"Which is why you know how important it is for this hate to stop."
Maria smiled. Where were these kids ten years ago? "Yes. I suppose it is."
Doc listened to their conversation from the backroom. He smiled, thinking about the talks around the table from days gone by. Talks filled with hate, rumble spots, and weapon choices were replaced by talks of peace and understanding.
"You're one all right person, Maria," Paul decided. Cat nodded in agreement. "If you were our age, I think you'd be out in the park with us."
Maria smiled. "Yes. I think I would be too."