By bobby

Rosa got into her car at the end of the workday, lay her head on the headrest and sighed. “What a long day,” she moaned. “All I want to do is get home and soak all night in a hot bath.”

She started the car and pulled out of the parking lot to begin the long 40-mile journey home. The 45-year-old ran her hand through her short hair that was now about half black and half gray. “I wish I weren’t so old now,” she said to herself. “Work never used to bother me. Now I can’t get through a day without feeling as if I’d been hit by a bus.”

Rosa turned onto the main street through town and moaned as she saw a sea of brake lights. “I’ll never get home at this rate!” she shouted to nobody in particular. She wondered how her father managed to do this for 30 years after moving with her mother from Mexico City. It was difficult enough just working, but having to get accustomed to the another language and culture made it seem almost impossible.

After driving in the stop and go traffic for a few minutes, Rosa started to feel surprisingly good. The rush hour traffic that lately drove her crazy just didn’t seem to bother her that much right now. She remembered when she was younger she had a lot more patience. At the next red light she even pulled down her visor and checked her makeup in the mirror, something she rarely bothered with now, especially on the way back from work. She winced as she noticed she had a couple of gray hairs standing out from her solid black. Other than that she thought she looked pretty good for a 35-year-old. Her face was still wrinkle-free; she just had a few faint lines on her forehead and near her mouth, but you couldn’t see them unless you were really looking.

As she pulled away from the light she glanced down at the business suit she had just bought at Ann Taylor and complemented herself on her taste in clothing. She wore a light gray jacket, off-white silk blouse and a knee-length gray skirt. She also had on a pair of sheer black pantyhose and black flat shoes.

Rosa was now passing through the main shopping district of town where the traffic was especially slow today, but she was feeling better and better and even started tapping her fingers with burgundy-colored nails on the steering wheel to a song on the radio. “I think I need something a little livelier”, she said. “Why would I be listening to this Adult Contemporary crap?” She switched the radio to a classic rock station. “That’s much better,” she said approvingly.

Rosa frowned slightly, saying, “Why am I wearing glasses? I don’t need these,” and she took them off, tossing them in the back seat. She ran her hand through her long black hair, then shook it out so it cascaded down below her shoulders. She again checked her face in the mirror and admired the reflection. “You are one hot 28-year-old, Rosa!”, she said as she smiled. She knew the guys at work all thought she was hot, and she couldn’t blame them. She had a gorgeous face, with dark flashing eyes and a small pert nose. She used a dark red lipliner and slightly lighter red lipstick, which accented her full, pouty lips. She wore gold hoop earrings about an inch in diameter. All this in combination with her sleeveless olive green top, showing a generous but still discreet amount of cleavage and above-the-knee skirt with 2-inch heels was enough to turn almost every male head in her office.

As Rosa waited at another red light, a dark blue Ford Explorer pulled up on her left. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed the passenger side window roll down. “Hey, honey! What’s a babe like you doing out by herself on a Friday night?” She turned and smiled at the owner of the voice, a guy about twenty years old who looked like he’d started happy hour about six hours ago. “Well, honey, you’ll never know now, will you? Eat your heart out.” Since his vantage point was so high she decided to give this obnoxious guy (with obvious good taste in women) a little show. She reached down and slid her hand, which now had inch-long nails with transparent pearl polish, slowly up her nude pantyhose-encased leg, drawing the hem of her mini-skirt up her thigh, but stopped just short of exposing anything above a PG-13 rating. She then moved her hands up to cup her ample breasts and gave them a slight squeeze. She smiled as she watched his jaw drop a foot, then blew him a kiss, licked her lips and drove off, laughing.

A 20-year-old Rosa continued driving then started thinking, “Why am I driving a Dodge Colt? This car sucks. I need a Miata!” She shook her head in disgust, hoping that her friends wouldn’t see her in such a boring car. Feeling a little hungry, she pulled into a McDonald’s drive-thru to grab a quick bite. The speaker blared, “Can I take your order?” “Yes, I’d like a garden salad,” she replied, then said, “No wait, make that a Big Mac meal, super sized, please.” Salad? Her mother ordered salads because she had to watch her weight. Rosa liked Big Macs; she was too young to be worried about that kind of stuff.

Rosa picked up her food and parked on the side of the road to eat. The 18-year-old started thinking about what she was going to do tonight. Maybe she’d call her friend Sarah; she hadn’t talked to her since yesterday after school. She shifted in the seat, as her seat belt wasn’t fitting her right, and she had to slide the seat forward to reach the pedals better.

Finishing up her meal, Rosa started the car again and pulled out into traffic. “Boy, I’d better get home fast. If Mom finds out I took the car all the way out here she’ll kill me,” 16-year-old Rosa said. She’d only had her license for a month, and her parents didn’t like her taking the car out for too long. She had to keep moving the seat forward, because the pedals and steering wheel kept moving away from her.

Her once impressive breasts were now small bumps hidden behind her red Aerosmith T-shirt, and her nails were now short and stubby, the victims of Rosa’s nervous biting, a habit her mother kept nagging her to overcome. As time went by she became more and more nervous. “I’m not even old enough for a learner’s permit! Why am I driving? I must be nuts!” She slowly pulled to the curb and parked, craning her neck so she could see to pull in.

“How did I get all the way out here?” Rosa asked herself worriedly as she began walking, then running down the sidewalk. She was about 14 now, and her body was only a shadow of its former self back when she was teasing the guy in the Explorer; he wouldn’t even recognize her now.

Rosa winced from the pain her new braces were causing her as the 12-year-old ran down the street. She wasn’t sure where she was or even where she was going and was getting scared. “I’ve gotta find a phone so I can call Mom to pick me up,” she thought. She ran into a drugstore and found a pay phone in the corner, and dug in her jean pocket for some change. Thankfully she found a quarter and eagerly dropped it in the slot, then froze. “Darn it, what’s the number again?” She stomped her foot in frustration. She was becoming very confused and forgetful as she was retreating from puberty. She rubbed her hand across her flat chest as she tried to remember the number, then pretty soon she forgot why she needed the phone number.

The ten-year-old stood looking around, wondering where her Mom had gone off too, and started walking around the store looking for her. Her Mom wouldn’t just leave her like this, would she? As she walked up and down the aisles, Rosa chewed on her long ponytail (another nervous habit) and started becoming more interested in toys on the shelf than where her mother was. “Cool, a new Barbie coloring book,” she squealed with delight and started thumbing through the book looking at the pictures. After a couple of minutes the seven-year-old got bored with the book and threw it down on the floor. “Stupid book! I like Sesame Street!”

The little girl in pigtails , a pink dress and Maryjanes with white ankle socks walked up to the cashier at the front of the store and asked, “’Scuse me lady, but have you seen my mommy?”

The cashier smiled and asked, “What does your mommy look like, sweetie?” “Ummm, she’th real big and she ha'th, like, dark hair,” the five-year-old said. “I don’t think I’ve seen anyone like that, honey,” the cashier said, puzzled. She could have sworn the little girl in front of her was getting younger by the second. “Where do you live?”

“Ummm…I wiv in umm…” Rosa was quickly losing the ability to think clearly, being only three. “Ummm….me want my mommy!”

The cashier stood stunned as she watched the little girl shrink into a toddler clad in diapers and a white cotton T-shirt. Her legs began to wobble and became more unsteady until she plopped down on her butt, then the change abruptly stopped, as the 18-month-old Rosa started sucking her thumb, oblivious to anything else around her.

Then the cashier suddenly realized her wish for a little girl of her own had been granted, unaware that at the same time, a wish made by a 45-year-old executive assistant had also come true. She bent down and picked up her little girl, had her fellow clerk take over the counter for her, and went home to start her life with her new family.