I watch him watch her. He is mesmerized. She stands there unaware. Her face serious but comfortable. Her body with the curves necessary to bear children. Her torso covered by a sheer button up shirt left unbuttoned. She wears nothing else. There were many women watched in this gallery but she stood out. Her lines soft yet distinct. She was not fragile.
“I fall in love with her again every time I see her.” He tells me.
I fall in love with her as well. I watch him inspect her detail. She is only made of lines. There is no color. Her simplicity makes her intriguing. Her simplicity makes her elegant.
Papa, my father’s given name by our new friends, awkwardly bends over, attempting to get his long stiff frame to the ground gracefully, but more importantly safely. His long pale legs covered in a layer of fine blond hair had nowhere to go, and so he attempted to be compact. He is not meant to be compact. Bundito makes it look easy as he squats into the size of a child. His feet are naturally set at an obtuse angle and his legs are short and flexible as opposed to long and stiff. He smacks on his food, sticky rice and curry, as he shares with us his ideas and opinions without hesitation or incitement. He had had some Jungle Juice. Papa looks uncomfortable as he tries to eat in the cramped, awkward position he has found himself in. His long legs contorted in different angles.
“We are born with nothing and we will die with nothing.” Bundito shares with us his minimalism. Mamma, Papa and I listen intently to Bundito’s ideas of government and consumerism. We are interested, but he also flows with no pause making it impossible for us to do anything but listen. He lives in the mountains. A sparse but full life. He and his neighbors use their land to produce their livelihood.
The sky is a deep blue, almost black. If there were no wild, black mountains jutting up from the flat Earth I would have not been able to see blue, but only a black expanse with no depth. The stars remind me of the universe. They don’t whisper in my ear about how small I am. They shout how big life can be. I listen. The lights in our bungalow are turned off. We watch the sky, expectant of a miracle.
“She was so graceful.” I say to Papa still looking at the horizon.
The heat of the day melted us. Sweat dripped from Mama’s nose. Papa’s white socks had turned a light tint of yellow. She approached us quietly. Her aged body dressed in at least five different vibrant colors. She smiled softly. However the pain was obvious. She held her thigh, beneath her floor length, hand knit skirt, tight. Her eyebrows crinkled together, as though she would cry. She did not say anything. She only dropped her load of green stalks and tried to take her rubber boots off. With this she exposed her calves, showing us her tanned skin with white round spots of years. As she bent over, to take the other gray boot off, she uncovered her body made of hard labour. She stood, looking at the stalks.
“Do you need…” I stopped when I realized not only that she could not understand me, but also that she did not hear me.
Papa was there by her side before I could blink. His khaki shorts clashed with her bright colors. His tennis shoes and yellow stained socks looked unnatural next to her bare, calloused feet. She smiled graciously as he brought the stalks into her wooden house, half open and half covered. As he struggled to put his tennis shoes back on, he shook her hand and bowed. He approached both me and mama. He was crying.
“Yes she was incredibly graceful with that situation.” He said as we all sat and looked at the mountains and the stars.