The old lady with the horn-rimmed glasses rests her head lightly on her chest, dozing in the late afternoon sun, a light snore escaping. She hears me approach, wet sandals squishing on the gravel as I pass and she eases awake, sleepy eyes narrowing into a wrinkled smile, she greets me, asking how I am.
We know nothing about each other beyond these daily exchanges, when I walk back from surf, tired and damp, flushed face and dripping hair, and she takes up her permanent position rocking leisurely on the porch watching people walk by.
There’s a sense of continuity as I pass at the same time each day, jogging her out of her slumber; it pains me to think that I’m leaving soon. I wonder how long it will take her to notice that the pleasant wet-headed foreign girl was no longer there at six a clock, indicating it was time to think about dinner.
The smells of fried fish and sounds of muffled salsa beats from the restaurants start to subside as the church bells call out for mass. Stray dogs bark in the distance and the fishermen return from the ocean with their catch, stacking their wicker boats against the seawall.
The sun begins to melt over the peer; I can see it squinting through the palm trees. All that I want is for time to stand still and let it be six o clock if only for a moment longer, so I can bask in the dying rays of the sun and the warmth of the old lady’s smile.
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