First Meeting

October 30, 2007
By
Sitting alfresco in the European styled Café de le Chat Noir but drinking a traditional Japanese green tea, I saw her. She had brown-black hair that reached to her mid-back, falling in loose coils that were all split ends. Her frame was much thinner than it ought to have been. Her skin was dry and sallow looking. Her back was hunched like she was too sore and too tired to do much more than clutch the small cup of coffee she was drinking. Covering it was a faded and too loose yellow sun dress that drooped on her body. I thought she looked beautiful from behind.

Subtly, I moved my seat to one where I could see her face. Her forehead had worry lines above closed eyes that were flitting like she was dreaming. Her nose was large, her lips full but pale. The lower one was clearly worried-there were marks where her teeth had dug in until it bled. There was also a thin band of light freckles across the right side of her forehead and down her face that bloomed across her chest and that ended somewhere below her neck line.

She looked like the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

Within a few moments I was proven wrong. A grubby soccer ball sailed in from the street, knocking my shin. Following it was an equally grubby, gaunt-looking child. He was clearly the woman's son, having her high cheek bones, large nose, and skin tone. I wondered who his father was to produce his light brown hair. He pushed a sweaty tuft out of his face before muttering a poorly accented “Gomen, señor.” I nudged the ball to him with a smile. He gravely nodded, then turned away from me. “Mamá!” he cried, causing the woman to wake; her elbow jolted off the table, spilling her now cold cup of coffee. He ran over to her, talking in quick, incomprehensible Spanish. European languages are not mine. Suzu knows a few of them. I know the Asian ones. I have learned English because one can’t exist without that language anymore, but that was the extent of my knowledge in the western hemisphere.

The woman lifted her still jabbering boy onto a chair, listening and nodding when he wanted a response. He must have said something funny because she laughed. It started with a smile: her large lips pulling back, stretching thinly across large teeth. Her teeth parted in silent giggles as her boney shoulders shook. Her eyes - now that they were open, I could see that they were slightly bloodshot brown - danced and glittered. Her laugh was never more than silent.

That was when she became the absolute most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. The merriment quickly faded, although it left behind a little mirth in her eyes. The boy was pleased with himself for managing to do that much. As she hefted him onto her left hip and started to walk away, I realized something. I wanted her to smile again, wanted her to really laugh, wanted to be the person that made her really laugh. I also realized that I wanted her. I wanted very much this graceful, careworn girl that looked taller than myself and had a son. I felt practically sinful lusting after this girl that was probably not much less than half my age. The worst part was that I didn’t give a damn.





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