Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The salesman gazes and grins at a tourist sitting alone in the outdoor café. Her chair points toward his shop. To investigate him, she looks across the center line of a table where two ladies with large, hooped, elaborate earrings examine menus. The tourist smiles across at the salesman. He waves, she waves back.
One of the ladies in the earrings turns to her purse for make-up–lunch will remove her lip-gloss, so she adds more eye shadow, more blush. One shouldn’t look unkempt while eating soup. As she makes herself up, she catches the solo tourist gesturing, but notes it is not her attention being sought, only some fixed point beyond her table. The lady turns in the direction of the action so slowly that the salesman has walked away. He wanders around his booth, turning toward his admirer at times, and then walking off to smirk over his luck. In one moment he would toss over a long stare or a wave of invitation to tea, then he would move behind a belly dancer costume and disappear from view.
The accompanied lady notes the solo one smiling at a point in space where the salesman paces, but the lady never turns her jewelry-laden neck quickly enough to see his side of their communication. Beneath her blush and over her lunch, she begins to wonder if perhaps this lonely solo is a bit crazy?
Solo knows quite well that the accompanied lady never catches her new friend’s advances. She takes delight in carrying on, just to make the made-up lady’s face pleat with curiosity. At one point, Solo holds up both hands and mouths “ten minutes” as she yields to the smiles of the salesman. The accompanied lady swallows her omelet and whispers to her companion that the lonely one seems very strange. Her lady friend checks, then titters in agreement.
Later, the table of make-up observes Solo walking away, but they wither a bit when the salesman hurries out to greet her. The ladies accompany each other then, moving in unison, touching napkins to the corners of their mouths and reaching for their mirrors. If they re-tell the story at home, they will leave out this resolution, this run-of-the-mill flirting. It is far more interesting to have spotted a madwoman on one’s summer vacation.