Thursday, 15 April 2010


I am in the habit of observation; people-watching, if you will. This old woman intrigues me more than usual, however. She sits, harmlessly enough, in the corner of a Waterstones coffee shop. It might be the poise of her head, a certain gleam in the eye; but there is a definite look there that tells the observer that here is a lady who has not yet succumbed to doddering senility and carpet slippers just yet. Her hair is short, thin and a pale gray, like the downy breast of a collared dove; but it has been carefully coiffed and curried, combed and coiled into perfectly shaped curls, that were so in fashion in the 1940s; the sort of hair you see on pictures of screen sirens from the period. Her ears are adorned with delicate pearl drop earrings, and her glasses hang on a thin chain of sliver round her neck. Despite obvious signs of age, she still has an elegant bearing. Her head rests proudly on a slender neck, which, although now heavy with wattles like that of a turkey, must in her youth have been slim and swan-like. Time has dimmed her eye, but there still seems to be a twinkle; a sparkle of life or a flash of spirit, something that announces to the world that she isn’t done for yet. Her lips have obviously thinned with age, and now they are painted a soft pinkish shade, enhancing a perfect cupids bow; in her youth, she must have been a beauty, the sort that makes men’s heads turn in the street. It makes me wonder; what must her life have been like? There must be so many untold lives, untold stories, that we shall never know.

1 comment:

  1. I love the observation 'like the downy breast of a collared dove'. Very evocative and original. x