Tip of My Tongue

Monday through Friday, I see them. As I drive to work – 8:30am, with coffee just seeping into my sleepy cells – I pass them in my car. I don’t think they have ever seen me, but if I miss them for even a day, I become oddly bereft. They are my non-caffeinated morning pick-me-up. They are my Rainbow Warriors.

Every weekday, they travel down the sidewalk in a gang. None of them is younger than 50, and several are much older. The men wear vests and patterned peaked caps; the women are powerful hummingbirds buzzing under layer after layer of color. They all wear brown plastic sandals covered with dust. I think they are Nepali. I know they are beautiful.

Sometimes the women carry heavily laden shopping bags, the straps digging into their foreheads as strong necks bear the weight. Certain days, the men have umbrellas, although I’ve seen…

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