June 23, 2004
It was dawn; the sun was
not yet up. The street was empty. No roaring automobiles, no cursing
pulling kids around, no blacksmith’s
saw. Not even the neighborhood beggar. No sign of anyone yet.
The musical sound of rain drops against asphalt
and window panes was all. Rain masterfully playing any tune ears
yearned to hear.
On either side of the narrow street, little circles
could be seen, like city stamps on every cross section. The aroma
of the lamb
restaurant filled the air. Tongue-less lamb heads were artfully
arranged in a serving dish on the counter, inviting hungry passersby.
Down the street was a bakery. The red glow of the
fire announced the end of a cold night. Two bakers worked in synchronicity,
sliding the raw dough into the oven and pulling out the browned
flat bread. They moved continuously, perfectly in time with the
rhythm of rain.
Four factory workers appeared, buried deep in their
overcoats. They were waiting for the company bus. They stood motionless
the wall as if waiting for a firing squad. As the bus approached,
they stretched their necks like waking turtles.
Everyday at this hour, the long-handle broom of
the street cleaner was heard. When he approached, a cloud of dust
surrounded him like
the saints. But today there was no sign of him. The responsibility
of sweeping the streets was given to the rain.
A young man walked toward the circular intersection,
his hands in his pockets. His splashing steps interrupted the music
rain. His toenails froze as the icy water flooded his shoes.
He dug his head into the collar of his coat and breathed inside
save his body heat.
As a child he wove rugs in his village, when he
grew up he herded sheep. The last few years he came to the city
working as a day
laborer. He came to this circular intersection and sat on the
banisters waiting for the employers. Whenever a truck stopped,
swarmed to it and climbed in the bed. The boss got out and the
employment process started.
The boss meticulously examined the workers and picked
seven or eight for the day’s work. The rest had to get out of the
truck. The older, slender, and pale ones got off first. But he
was not worried about them.
Rain came down harder. He slumped in the back of
the truck recalling where he worked the last two weeks; where he
left his soul and
his heart. It was house surrounded by towering walls. The ceilings
had more mirrors than most shrines. The windows were big enough
to swallow all the light of the sun.
He stood right outside one of those massive windows.
Pausing from his work in the yard, he saw her inside. She was peering
him and into the sun as if looking at herself in a mirror. She
toyed with sunbeams using strands of her hair and mocked the
sun itself with her beauty.
The young woman was unaware of his gaze, it was
as if he was not even there, just feet from her. She stood on an
rug. Her pristine white dress a contrast to the dark weaving of
the rug. It was the type of rug he’d worked on as a child.
The intricate weaving had cost him most of his eyesight.
As she played, she trod carelessly across the woven
flowers in the rug. For a moment he thought she was looking at
him, but she
was looking through him. The young man found his soul in her
indifferent look and lost it again forever.
It was pouring now. The rain hit him like frozen
The truck jolted, started moving, and the young
man sat under lashing wind thinking of light, crystal, and mirror.
goodbye to spam!