The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Serenade for the Sheepish

From the moment she and her husband are seated, they eat and drink in silence. They don’t discuss the menu. They order by pointing. He looks through photos on his phone and she tucks her hair behind her ear, glances briefly at the passersby, or stares into space.

A trio of musicians has been sitting at the bar, waiting for a few more patrons, until finally they stand as a group and began to play at different tables. The first to receive a performance at close-proximity is a table with a set of female tourists, middle-aged and blonde, unsmiling even when the music is up-tempo. The second table is more delighted, a crew of six who try to sing along. As the musicians move toward the mute pair, she folds her arms, then unfolds them, then folds them again, then fiddles with her silverware.

Finally, she shyly poses for her husband’s video capture of this slightly embarrassing moment. Despite her body language protests, despite her nervousness during the approach, she gives in to the odd situation and the certainty of being a tourist. She smiles. She offers up her first unabashed smile of the evening. The musicians sing and she seems relieved when they leave, but as the trio wanders away, she takes her husbands hands across the table. They laugh at the experience and lean in close over the phone, admiring his camerawork, watching the video over and over again.

-Istanbul, Turkey

Taksim. Istanbul, Turkey.

Taksim. Istanbul, Turkey.

5 comments on “Serenade for the Sheepish

  1. joannerambling
    June 10, 2015

    What a lovely scene

  2. davecenker
    June 11, 2015

    Human psychology is an amazing thing – is the couple simply sheepish and reserved, or was there some argument or tension between them that caused the invisible wall between them? Either way, sometimes a little outside influence is all we need to break down those barriers and reestablish an honest connection – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Thanks for sharing, Paige – this was a beautiful depiction in every way possible 😉

    • Dave, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it! I’m often trying to make up an explanation for the attitudes of the people I meet, but then I feel I’m moving into fiction and I try to avoid that here on the blog. Here’s hoping I can get my fiction back! 😀 Thank you for your thoughtful post.

      • davecenker
        June 13, 2015

        I have found, personally, that sometimes “real” life gives us some of the best ideas for fiction – stay inspired 😉

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