Monday, June 29, 2009


He stands by the window and watches the woman leave. As she reaches the bottom of the landing she lifts her hand from the cast-iron railing, pulls on her gloves, and makes a turn to the right, moving without hurry, eyes on the crowd. A light wind ripples her dress -- a smart lapis print flecked with gold -- and the branches above her stir, but he can't hear the leaves rattle, only the buffeting of the window from the pressure wave of a passing bus. She's standing right in front of him now -- he can make out the individual strands of the curl of dark hair that circles behind her ear -- but she doesn't turn, doesn't seem to be aware of him watching her just above. She might hear him if he called or reached out a hand to tap the glass, but he remains still, his hands at his sides. A knot of pedestrians forms in front of her and then comes undone; she steps forward, shrugs up her collar, and inclines her head almost imperceptibly before the breeze as she begins to walk away. Once or twice he thinks he hears the muffled chock of her heels striking the sidewalk. He is looking over her shoulder now, and his eyes continue to follow her as she moves behind the white curtains and into the maple lattice-work that frames the window. Her head vanishes; he catches one last flair of her dress, the back of a bare calf, her raised heel, and she is gone.

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