by JA Studio
Just an observation prompt
|I was sitting on a red, wooden bench. I wouldn’t have known it was red if not for the blue light of the aquarium behind my head casting purple across the open slats next to which I sat. I found myself passing the time as I usually do. I have this habit of making sense of the day by gathering scattered smells and sounds as if I were blind. Garlic, ginger, green onions, fish sauce, and my favorite, jasmine. Tuesday takeout. A bright light caught my attention. The light shown briefly on a table just across the room.
Sitting at the table, was an older man and woman. On the table between them were some dishes, half empty glasses of water, and a set of car keys in the shape of a star fish. Next to the star fish was a black plastic tray. On it were a pen, some empty, clear plastic wrappers, and a lunch ticket.
I noticed the woman studying something in her hands. She squinted her eyes, then brushed a few strands of hair back from around her glasses. She looked pleased, and began to stir. The man sitting across from her stood up. While reaching for his coat on the back of his chair, she began to extend her hand. He let his coat slip back onto the chair. Shaking and tenderly, their hands drew nearer.
Something was hidden by her long curled fingers. It was very small. I couldn’t tell. I could just make out her words as she spoke. She swallowed, swept something from her mouth with a napkin, and said, “Oh my, this is really small. I can't read it.”
When their hands met, their fingers brushed lightly. It was one of the most remarkable exchanges I had ever seen. Illuminated like held breath, their palms and fingers drifted searchingly, then entwined. It was like watching the whispered voice of a Russian ballet.
He took great care not to drop the delicate item as he repositioned it in his own hands. He tilted his chin upwards. I could see that he was actually looking down through the lower half of his eyeglasses. His hands were careful, but frail. He began to speak. I strained to hear past the clink of dishes, and the swishing of passersby wearing heavy coats. “Your future holds a lifetime of companionship from a special friend,” he said, pausing before he winked. The woman smiled and scolded, “Oh you!” Then she swatted him playfully on the hands and they both chuckled quietly. He approached her from his side of the small table.
He picked up his jacket and the keys, then leaned over her. With one hand in hers, he brought the other around her back. Keeping close by her side, he helped her up and out of her chair. With his arm still around her, they walked slowly and carefully to the door. With his free hand, He placed the small piece of paper carefully into the pocket of his jacket. The bright light from outside raced across my feet. It beamed through the bustling room to the small table where they were sitting moments before. Then it disappeared. When i looked back to the couple they had gone, vanished into the wide white light.
I closed my eyes to the smell of jasmine in a bath of blue light.