Archive for the 'old women' Category

at dean & deluca (recalled)

There was an old woman dressed in red and gold, her hair like yesterday’s spun sugar. Her hands were gnarled with arthritis, curled like claws. She ate a raspberry jam cookie, resting from time to time as if some part of consuming the treat had cost her effort. A young man in a blue blazer came in, and she was momentarily captivated. Maybe he was a ghost to her, someone from her youth, or maybe she had never stopped looking wistfully at young men. When she packed up to leave, she stopped a hip Asian guy with bleached hair and asked if he knew the buses in the neighborhood. He didn’t.


on the subway

An early train, everyone quiet. There was a tall fat man with a cheap cane, worried eyes. A young man leaned against the pole, trying to suppress the inward, private smile that kept overtaking his face. An older woman with veiny hands noticed a small stain on her pink pants, touched it as though that might give her new information, then moved her purse to conceal it. She read over my shoulder for a while, and then her head dropped down into sleep. The smiler got off at 14th St, the fat man at 34th. The dozing woman kept dozing all the way up the line.

on the bus (recalled)

I was riding the bus back from the beach. At a bus stop in front of an old drugstore, out near the end of Flatbush, I saw a black girl in a bridesmaid’s dress, her hair upswept and laced with flowers. Next to her stood a stooped old white woman, with impossible red hair and the kind of outlandish, improper makeup that suggests both innocence and insanity. The old woman looked up at the tall girl, dazzled, reaching out her reedy hand to touch the girl’s arm. The girl looked at her, and as my bus began to pull away, I could read the woman’s exaggerated lips: “You look so beautiful.”