Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Loose Threads #4

The Spaces Afforded

Her thread crossed mine, pulled it taut for a fleeting moment, and then it slipped away.

Before I saw anything else, I saw the way she folded her arms, hugging herself. Her arms cinched her t-shirt. The red t-shirt was too big for her skinny frame. The older woman moved through the flow of shoppers like a pebble in the spaces afforded her. She knew how not to be seen, how not to take up too much space-- not to make any sudden movements.

He was all sudden movements, in the parking lot. His words and gestures seeming to take up twice the space afforded his person, equally skinny and old. She handed him a box of ramen noodles. He threw it to the far end of the truck bed. She set down more bags. He pushed his way out from behind the cart, yanked down the tailgate, insistent on loading the groceries the right way: his way: fast enough to be done and on to somewhere else he'd rather be, something else he'd rather be doing.

He passed her pack after pack of soda from the bottom rack of the shopping cart, mindful then--perhaps that she couldn't bend down or lift from so low, of her person, the space she ought to be afforded. He was mindful the way you are when you're mad but the other person isn't, when you try not hurt them with your actions, despite your words. When you can't look at them, because you know you hurt them despite your actions.

He was on his phone as he returned the cart, already elsewhere. She waited for him by the truck, arms folded. Hugging herself.

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