THE CITIZEN

I love a secluded street like I love … my mother.

It was summer. I was walking down a secluded street.

And there she was.

At the distant end of the empty street. One of the loveliest women you could dream of. In silk. And … crinoline. Holding, a parasol. Approaching.

Her face, was unfamiliar. A cream face, a rose face. Easily, easily, could it have been the face of an ingenue. Someone beginning. Some undiscovered one.

Approaching. Close. The odor, as she came so close, of roses. Smiling, as she passed, and … turning, very gently, her parasol.

Her passing was a real passing. A loss. I cannot … explain.

I thought of turning, but there was someone else. Approaching. From the same direction. An older person, a woman. In green.

And this was a familiar face. I was uncertain where I might have seen it. So many things are unclear. Perhaps … a lost face, come back again.

It passed, this lost face, with no smile. No odor. With … a cool rushing. Only.

I walked on. I turned the corner.

Screams. And there were terrible screams.

Rushing back, turning back. A rushing figure, head lowered, approaching. A figure in green.

At the far end of the street, lying, in the street. The woman in silk. In … crinoline. The rose woman.

So close to passing, this green woman. I raised my hands, to grasp her, to arrest her. She was so very close, now.

And then …

She lifted her head, this woman. This green woman. She lifted her face, and … it was not her face.

It was a cream face, a rose face. The face of an ingenue.

I staggered back. There were no words. I staggered back. And she passed.

So I rushed to the fallen woman. I rushed to her. And I stopped.

There are really, so few words.

Turning, I did as all citizens would do. As we are instructed, and expected, at such times, to do. But … as I wished to do, too.

“Face taker!” I screamed. “Face taker!” racing down the street. “Face taker! Face taker! Face taker!”

 

                                                                                                 

First published in Punchnel’s

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