The market is a ten-minute walk from my house. I walked. The heat began reminding me of the humid days in southeast Asia. I wore the same ankle length skirt I would wear in the evenings there. I had that feeling that a blanket of dried sweat and dirt covered my clothes and my skin. I was surprised when I looked in the mirror, that I didn’t look any different. I felt different. My clothes had faded from the sun there in the far east, and now they are fading here in the far west. The skirt I wore used to be bold. Vibrant. It was now worn. The faded colors of the ocean and a deep red wine.
I shopped for the essentials. I would walk home. At 5 in the evening the sun still beat hard enough to sequester the salty sweat from your pores.
I read online yesterday that children with Cystic Fibrosis produce much saltier sweat than the average human. It was a photo essay about the beauty in the bodies of those who have never felt beautiful.
My sweat is average and so I can only empathize with those who have salty sweat. But at five that evening, bag in hand lacking coffee and a razor, sweat lined my spine and dripped down my face. I turned to my right. My music, listening to something funky and soothing, a man began moving his lips at me. His lips were full. His body was on display, with no shirt on and his pants low. His chest was defined as was his stomach. His back had ridges of muscle I hadn’t known were part of the muscle system. As his lips got closer I was able to hear as opposed to read.
“I like your hair.”
“It really suits you. Not many people can pull off short hair. It’s because of your high cheek bones.”
“Shoot. You know you look good. Good for you. I can tell you’re a kind giving person.”
“From the two words I’ve spoken?”
“No from your eyes. You’re a free spirit. You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes. “
He had reflective sunglasses on. I could not see his eyes.
“I’m just coming back from the gym.” He continued.
“Do you work out?”
This may have been a lie. I run daily.
“You must do something. You are gorgeous. There is something you aren’t telling me.”
He took this moment to double check that my body was indeed his standard for gorgeous.
“I’m Taylor. And this is my turn.”
“Can we exchanged numbers?”
“No I don’t think so.” I say surprising myself and my kind tendancies.
“Ok well you have a good day.”
And the man with back muscles I didn’t know existed walked away. I looked up. A palm tree towered over me. The sun right behind it’s fronds. It created a speckling of sun on my face and the earths surface around me.
That evening I went to buy a table and chairs for my room. The table was made from a wine barrel. The chairs have not been found. Right now the wine barrel table sits in front of a Van Gogh print of Café de Nuit. And above Van Gogh hangs a print by somebody who does not want to create art like Vincent Van Gogh. His art teacher once told him “Don’t try to be Van Gogh. Van Gogh is Van Gogh. Try to be you.” He is him. He is beautiful as is his art.