Friday, January 21, 2011

Mothers & Sons, III

Servi watched the woman as she approached a door surrounded by a phalanx of other women and children. The woman passed off the boy somewhere in the scrum, and  walked briskly away, never looking back.

Servi followed her. She trotted down the street in medium sized heels. He watched the long arch of her legs, her sturdy calves as they tensed and flexed as she skipped down the sidewalk, the hint of strong thigh revealed through the tight outline of her skirt. Her upper body was skimpy compared to her lower, as if a creator had meant to fashion a woman out of hardy, peasant stock and ran out of material above the waist. She wore some sort of uniform on her tapered upper half, a vest emblazoned with words which Servi could not read.

Then it all became apparent: she bounded on a tour bus and quickly addressed the driver, who was waving a hand dismissively toward her. She picked up a microphone and was about to address the crowd behind her as Servi moved  to take a seat near the front.

For a moment, she looked at the young man keenly, as if she may know him, but then blinked and the expression fell from her face, like a curtain falling from a window and revealing a rainy day. She licked her lips and began to speak. She spoke to two dozen elderly men and women quickly in a language Servi did not recognize. She spoke rapidly but efficiently in this strange tongue, harsh with gutturals and sudden with full stops and brimming with brisk, skipping vowels. Servi thought it was Arabic, but then saw an Israeli newspaper in an old man’s hand and realized it was Hebrew.

The woman began to gesture with her right hand out the window as the bus pulled away from the curb and into a harrowing wall of Roman morning traffic.

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