We Needed a Woman

“Excuse me”—
I keep walking. As one does. Vaguely aware of two young women sitting off to the side of the sidewalk and laughing, I quickly come to the conclusion that they’re trying to ask for money.
But the voice repeats and gets to the point more quickly:

— “excusemecanyoutakeapictureofus?”

I turn to see two 20-something women sitting on a sidewalk bench bundled up for the cold and glowing with leftover laughter from whatever had them cracking up just before this moment. They were basically me and any number of close girlfriends I’ve had over the years feeling rambunctious and silly with friendship.

“Sure.”

They laugh. “We needed to have a woman do it. A stylish woman!” 

I chuckle and take the phone being handed to me. “This way or this way,” I ask while flipping the camera from landscape to portrait mode. 

“Either.” They move in closer to each other and begin to pose.

I switch into some kind of photographer mode, mostly channeling what I’ve watched my husband do hundreds of times with models, encouraging them to get uninhibited, and I take six or eight or maybe it’s 20 pictures in a variety of orientations and angles as they laugh and vamp and hug each other, and then I hand the phone back. “There’s bound to be at least one or two good ones in there. Enjoy your day.”

They glance through the photos as I begin to walk away. “Oh my god, you’re awesome! I knew we had to have a woman do this!”

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