prose sketch: shoppers resting

Sun. 13 Jan 2013 ca. 1:15 p.m. Park Royal South

Back at this same oasis on the concourse of the mall: two planar sofas, two cubic chairs, all occupied by shoppers between missions. Four men, one woman, one of us with any of the others: five solitaires. The young aboriginal guy opposite me is on the phone, left ankle on right knee in a figure-4 posture. The old guy at the opposite end of his sofa is in the same posture, ball-cap slouched on his head, paper coffee-cup in hand. A meaty, jowly face. But now he’s risen to shuffle across the steppe of the tiled concourse, and by coincidence the young guy has followed him.

The other man is in the chair to my right: middle-aged, carelessly sprawled back. Another old man has arrived who knows him, and they’re talking now: the middle-aged guy has a husky, high-pitched voice: the Godfather. His hands are folded on his belly. The old friend has a more piercing, nasal voice. His silver hair is cropped close to his scalp like moss on a rock.

The woman, in the second chair, is maybe only a girl, not even 20. She’s Chinese, and is also writing in a thin little notebook. She wears dark jeans and her feet, crossed at the ankles, do not reach the floor. Could she be writing about me? What might she say?

“Middle-aged Caucasian man, all in blue with his faded old jeans and darker-blue windbreaker, hi-tech gray walking boots—Helly Hansen. Dark-blond hair, heavy glasses, a craggy, focused face. He writes forcefully, jiggling the notebook on his knee. Often he looks up, turning his head to look high around him, up at the mezzanine and the skylights.”

Ah: and just as I finished that little description, she snapped her notebook shut, jumped up, and was gone.

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