She wraps a scarf upon his neck. Stretches it too much – he makes a look as if choking. With wide eyes, she quickly leans in and kisses his nose tip.
His hands reach to loosen it – block hands like every joint were a cement ball and bones were levers. He tucks the end into his jacket. Phaux leather. Black. Kind of scruffy.
His broken laces trail behind them like rats tails. He grabs her hand. Her shoe unties, she pressures on his hand – stop. Crouches down like a cat intent on fixing misplaced cowlicks. Ties them in a bow.
You expect her to click her heels before they start walking again.
They pass a house they don’t notice – an old woman sits on a chair that leans – back and forth, back – with a quilt at her hands, her eyes carefully looking them over as they pass. Their smiles turn a corner of her mouth up.
She sighs and puts down her tapestry, putting a gnarled hand onto her chest. Her fingers mingling with several chains until finding the right one. She looks down at it. She blinks and reluctantly recoils it from her sight, hiding it under her blouse like a Christian would a cross, and slides her hand over the armrest – all periwinkle and peeling – stopping at the edge and applying pressure. Simultaneously she reaches for a candy cane walking stick leaning against the raining in front of her. White, peeling.
She holds in her breath while straining to lift her body. Breathes out. She turns round and opens the storm door that keeps out mosquitos. A little bell rings somewhere in the distance. She left the wooden door with the two small windows at the top, open. A cat softly thuds onto the linoleum of the entranceway. She tries to reach down to pet it, stops, sits down on a bench and whispers to the cat. It comes willingly. There is a grey wind blowing outside – her flowers start reaching for the sky. They are so eager, and she, so lost as how to emulate them.
Rosemary. She wanders outside again, the cat meowing in discontent at being disturbed, and softly tears a bunch of weed looking plants from the ground, except they have a little metal fence around them, these plants. They’re not nothing.
They’re pomodoro. Tagliatelle. They are crust and yogurt and nothing her 3-year-old granddaughter will eat. She tightens her hold on them, leans on her walking stick, rubs the herbs between her fingers, lifts it up to her face and closes her eyes.
A drop falls on her forehead. She does not belong among these yearning things and these unyearning people. More drops fall and are slowed by the creases on her cheeks. When she puts her head down again you see a careful and long braid rolled into a low bun of salt and pepper at the crest of her neck. She reaches the hand that isn’t burdening her walker and takes out a pencil from the growths. It falls down her huddled back. It is wavy despite having a different nature. A part falls across her shoulder. Her face is lost in the persistent, warm rain now – the flowers even smell like stretching anew. Like an exercise at life.
Her long locks dripping with dirty water, no doubt from loving lake Ontario, she goes up onto her veranda and reaches a hand into her apron pocket, takes out the rosemarry and puts it on the chair beside her.
She pricks her finger when she stars to sew again, her cat – all black but with a white ear – runs through it’s opening in the storm door and leaps quickly and gently to her lap. It licks her finger when she starts brushing it. The woman holds the cat close to her bosom, turns her eyes to the street, sees the young couple running back.
She whispers, “Go through rain, my babies Go together. Lives gained.”
Then she starts humming an old Turkish lullaby, her fingers gripping the armrest of the chair beside her.
Rocking and humming until her cat jumps off her lap and walks inside.
She leaves the rosemary outside when she goes in. She shuts the wooden door to the creeping absence of the night, and locks several bolts. The rosemary airs outside.