Copyright is held by the author.
AN OLD woman wearing a frayed housecoat, in a third-floor walk-up in a city, arises from a sofa beside which burns a cigarette unattended in an ashtray on a glass top table.
She slouches to the front window, leans and bends and with the gnarly fingers of her right hand parts the gauze curtains that flutter beside a TV chattering for the chatter, and with her left hand raises the window shade halfway, then peers down at the busy scene below.
A thin guy in a brown suit on a bus stopped by traffic, visible through the second window from the back, buries his face in his evening paper.
A 40ish woman hastily exits a butcher shop across the street, drops wrapped meat in her canvas bag, and is forced to halt by a middle schooler wearing a backwards baseball cap racing past the shop on a battered, faded, multi-coloured skateboard.
A cinnamon cat, startled by the skateboard, dashes for cover under a red Sonata.
A tall man in a trench coat and fedora below and to the left of the old woman’s window, stooping next to a silver Honda parked by the curb,speaks through the open passenger side window, addressing a blond-haired jittery young woman fidgeting behind the Honda’s steering wheel.
A beggar at the corner, looking out of place, solicits money from right-turning drivers when the light goes red, brandishing a cardboard sign imploring SAVE ME FROM EVICTION.
An attendant in a faded white jumpsuit at the corner service station, also looking out of place, changes prices with a long metal claw while glancing repeatedly and furtively at…
…a man in a worn brown military-style jacket and dry wash jeans and a slightly ragged, partially-unbuttoned, button-front tee, a youngish older man with graying but stylishly unkempt hair, somewhat craggy and dishevelled man who you suspect worries he should lose a few pounds, but not enough to try, who looks Harrison Ford-like maybe, and maybe bookish too, judging by his wire-rim glasses, and the well-worn paperback jutting from his left coat pocket, strolling across the middle of the street during a break in traffic, who then steps up on the curb behind the Honda and is gestured (signalled?) to by the man in the trench coat. The guy in the jacket (did I mention he looks like Harrison Ford?) nods knowingly, then turns and starts to walk away, hesitates, maybe considers turning back, then hunches up his shoulders and moves on.
The old woman watches him til he’s out of sight, then pulls down the shade, releases the curtain, and returns to the couch. She reaches for her cigarette with her right hand, holds it in the air between two fingers, picks up the television remote with her left, and changes channels.