Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I met a woman last week. She was sitting on the steps outside the Sentrul Kumyunuty Senter. She had a permit. I didn't mean to, but we made eye contact, and something in her look kept me from breaking away. When we were done inside with the Awgzilury Internal Indawktrunayshun, she was still there. I wondered what she was waiting for. But she had a permit, pinned to her hat, so they wouldn't Notate her. She stood up just as I passed and we bumped.

Then we walked down the steps together, side by side, and I don't know who was leading and who following, but we walked to the Plaza of the Peoples. Didn't say a word, didn't turn to look at each other. I could hear her breathing. It sounded like leaves. We bumped shoulders. I tilted my hand out and took hers.

It's spring now, and the sun stays up later, although it's cold as always. I couldn't think of anything to say. But she never let go of my hand. Her hand was small through the gloves. There were several pairs of Beigeshirts on patrol, but we kept to the sand paths and they don't like to scuff their boots. About seven she tugged me, but without any movement, toward the mainwalk, and over to the omnibus circus. We stood there until it came, and she got on, slipping through the latework crowd until I saw her at a window. She held my eyes again, expressionless. Her face was pale but her lips were full and dark. When the omnibus pulled away, my eyes burned.

I have not seen her again. I return to the steps of the SKS after work everyday. But another woman was sitting on the steps today, with a permit pinned to her hat. I asked her why she was sitting there. She did not respond. I asked her if she know the woman who had been there the week before. Her eyes flickered, and she glanced at me briefly. "What is it?" I asked. "I am waiting for a Mourning Lisense. This is the line." "Who died?" "Everyone."

I left her there. I will not return.

The day after the walk last week I spent my savings on another pair of gloves. The one that held her hand, I keep in a box. When I hold it to my lips I think I can smell the scent of newly washed hair.



Will C. said...

I really need to send you my copy of "Equilibrium". You would like it...I think.

Jack H said...

There's always Amazon. Author?

Will C. said...

Hehehe, Jack you should know me better than that. Its a movie. Here's the opening line:

"DuPont: In the first years of the 21st century, a third World War broke out. Those of us who survived knew mankind could never survive a fourth; that our own volatile natures could simply no longer be risked. So we have created a new arm of the law: The Grammaton Cleric, whose sole task it is to seek out and eradicate the true source of man's inhumanity to man - his ability to feel."

Either rent it from BB, or send me your address and I'll let you borrow my copy. You'll really enjoy it.

Jack H said...

But there was no such war. This is obviously a work of fiction. Sheesh, didn't you know that?