From a doorway, he watches, neither thinking nor without thought, as she moves quietly, unobtrusively, almost invisibly, through a midday crowd, pocketbook clutched in the crook of her left elbow, right hand free to carry the day’s purchases. Hanging limply from her sharp shoulders, the hem of her pea-green coat sways disspiritedly around her knees, covering a dress he knows will be faded, the fabric clean, soap-scented, but fragile from years of washing. She does not look up, never makes eye contact unless speaking directly to a merchant or a rare acquaintance. In an absent-minded motion, reminiscent of the ubiquitous row of rosary-sayers at the churches of his youth, he polishes a blushing apple, turning it over and over, his eyes following the receeding pea-green rectangle until it disappears around a corner. Then, with a sigh, he gently replaces the fruit, and turns toward his next customer.
(c) 2018, by Hannah Six