11,041 vagabonds plus:
"Quick, in here. Do you see him"? Two women, Matilda and Tessy, entered a boutique out of a light drizzle in New York.
They were holding hands, the girls, and then tighter.
"Wait. Oh, yes, look, right across the way. Leaning, hat pulled down".
Their eyes shone, glistening, as in a chase, cornered and breath-catching.
"Not a place for a man. We're safe".
"I'm not so sure". And then they were laughing.
"Look at the choice. A hundred and one colors in lace hosiery." Her friend was not paying attention. "Still out there is he?"
She nodded. "He's crossed." Looking up at the ambient lights, "I love this place already".
They spoke French then. "He is an American".
"How can you tell?"
"At the bistro he was hiding behind an upside down menu".
The other giggled. "And now he has cornered us, Matilda", in mock over-melodramatic fright.
"He's shy", she said quietly, blushing, eyebrows raised in a slight frown.
"Oh look...they have pink hose just like the store name". She was serious. After awhile, when she was down on her knees scanning the bottom display of silk delights, she looked up and asked in English, "How do you know he's shy?"
The other went to the window and looked out, neck craning, at the man.
She spoke barely above a whisper, a slight shudder, cinching the scarf around her sleek Audrey Hepburn neck. "'round the corner I stopped and turned to him. We were face to face. He rolled his hat from hand to hand and looked down at the ground".
Her dearest was at her side now. She kissed her cheek. "Poor thing, he".
"No. They make the finest lovers".
"Shhh", as she tapped on the window.
the shop around the corner
photograph by Robert Doisneau
"Sure, I remember, of course I do. We won't talk about the frequent weeping. Not even the frequent miles, apart. I held you, and we kissed as our feet were still floating. Frequently. We traversed like magnetic pins zig-zagging on a map in a sweaty police squad room. Like 'I've got a hunch, captain - Cordon off this area, men, along this route is where the next kissing incident will occur. Mark my word - I've been a policeman for twenty-three years. I know'. Right up to our parting from the bus station. I think they announced our kiss over the loud speaker, squawking like adults in a Charlie Brown special."
She smiled and looked down at her shoes.
"I don't hear so good anyway when you're kissing me", she said, her eyes gleaming.
On another walk, in a year when time once stopped around half past three, they stood in the middle of the block in front of a jewelry store shining with pudding-colored lights. The displays looked tasty, and she licked her lips. He saw this and then he kissed her. People walked by with hunched shoulders in the rain. No gumshoes need apply.
photo of Molly's new toy by Elene Usdin
"Ok. Ok, mom, remember that one time. That one time the dog brought a dead sparrow into the house"?
"And daddy. Daddy got upset that Molly parked it right in his favorite chair and just sat by it. Kinda just stared at anybody that saw Molly sitting there. Remember"?
"Yeah". Nervous giggling.
"What about it, honey"?
"Well. Um. Molly just dragged something in the house, mom. But, mom, Molly didn't put it in any chair. So daddy won't be mad when he sees, right"?
Bond of Union (1956)
"Did you ever try to peel an apple without breaking the skin?"
"Oh yes. Many times", he replied turning away, oozing a thick cider sarcasm.
"I can too."
"Oh, I can't wait". He yawned.
Their was a audible snap. It came out of the air. A pealing sound of innocence shattering, forever gone, as though kicking a sleeping dog.
'Lean over my way', he thought. 'I'm going to peel from scalp to your soulless shoes. Unbroken.'
by M. C. Escher
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