Story 10Button 24



There she was.  Behind the counter.  I was caught by her elegant movements and her poise.  She flashed a beguiling smile at a customer, and I thought:  I simply must talk to this woman.

I approached her with a book about Santería, and some readied questions.  She was courteous and helpful.  We chatted, and I diverted the conversation to her and her life.  She was a single mother in her mid-forties.  She used to be a teacher, and she had loved it.  She had taught English, but we spoke in her native Spanish.  She also enjoyed her current job, conversing with people, helping them on their mini-quests.

As we spoke, she toyed with a large bluegreen button on her cardigan.  It was the same colour as her eyes.  Had a conversation become a flirtation?  I looked into her eyes for a few moments as she finished a sentence about folklore.  Days later, she would tell me of her past and future dreams.

We broke eye contact.  My gaze drifted once again to her delicate fingers, still playing with that button.  To be in her hands.  To be clasped to her breast.  To be that button, always so close to her.

That night, as I was enjoying a dinner of roasted meat, I wrote her a letter.  I started and could not stop.  I spilled myself onto the pages.  Fourteen long pages.  I explained myself and my world.  I touched upon my intentions.  I invited her to come away on a short holiday with me (perhaps slightly cavalier).  She declined.  She had her teenagers to care for.

Finally, I wrote a short love-poem for her.  I do not remember if the button made an appearance.  But her eyes (and wry smile) certainly did.  The poem was simply called “Carmen”.  Her name.  It likened her to a light.  And I was the moth.  It was the only time I had ever written poetry in Spanish.  Now it is lost forever.



by Adam Hani

© YaZoul Ltd  (2013)


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