Yesterday, while I walked the city streets…

I found a café in a back lane in the city,

it looked like a nice old place, so I went inside

ordered a cup of tea and some toast.

An old woman, dark, with long grey hair brought me my order

and she stood before me a moment and said I looked like a man she used to know,

only I am a little fatter.

 

This man used to live on a farm,

she said,

he would take her for walks along lonely dirt tracks

they would light a fire and make love when the night fell

all in the open,

under the trees.

One day they were married

and he took her to the city.

She held up her hands and showed me the rings she wore,

this one, she said, pointing to a golden ring

is her wedding ring.

Three weeks into the marriage he started to beat her,

and he would beat her at least once a week.

It was the city that made him crazy,

she said.

But he is dead now

his heart stopped.

I’m glad the beatings have stopped.

She stood beside my table for a few more minutes

looking past me out the window.

The lane shone in the weak light,

its narrow spaces made the city seems taller,

but inside the café it seemed like a country town.

I’ve worked here for forty years; she said finally,

quietly

and moved away, leaving me behind in silence

leaving me with her memory.

 

 

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