“How do I begin to tell the story of a life? How can I bring to paper blood? flesh? heart and heartbeat? . . . I simply begin beneath skin.”
Rita Marie Nibasa, Author /Playwright /Poet
Fast friends of many years, they carry worn guidebooks in sensible backpacks on their comfortably upholstered bodies.
Wearing fine straw hats, filmy shawls and comfortable shoes laced over much-travelled feet, they lunch in sweet-quaint spots just off the beaten path – take with them what they may that is not finished.
No menus here – thick soups with rough-skinned breads and homemade butter, drinks in tall scratched glasses, roadside greens with oil and blood-red vinegar. Dutch treat and save dessert for later.
They link arms and sometimes skip, leaning in to watch the other’s eyes
and better hear whispered thoughts – sometimes they say nothing at all. They explore faint footpaths – never lost. Share universal stories with village women, nodding, shrugging, laughing with mouths held wide as they haggle softly for crafts and sweets.
Eyes creased at tanned corners, they sometimes wonder, if.
Hands flutter holding words aloft then set them free once spent.
They wear bifocal lenses, sunshades and sunscreen, and deliberately travel light of spirit and possessions. They don’t too often look back to where they’ve been, but wander forward, peering through dusty windows, jangling the bells of cluttered shops as they step through creaking doors:
scooping treasure from bins of dross, they collect receipts of memories.
They tuck smudged handbills into bright cloth flowered bags,
dip into clever hidden pockets for gum or mints or folded currency,
leave glittery mounds of coins for tips and smile without goodbyes.
One hand grasps another’s wrist; they swivel silvered heads
then pause and stare at muscular chests fronting taut sauntering buttocks. Soft murmurs of assessment roll from smiling lips.
That sound! They look around with happy curiosity.
Brows raised high, a graying, thick-trunked male
unwraps his fresh demeanour and, sidling past,
repeats his whistle of appreciation.
A sibilant psst, a wordless pause; eyes wide, they stop, stretch taller –
more mischief than intention in the auto-sway of shapely hips,
the snap of fingers beneath a rustle of skirts.
He wheels, considerately turning for their wave of affirmation.
They bow slim necks to hide broad grins,
clasp hands then stroll across the street.