December 2, 2011 § 5 Comments
The rosy skies had betrayed the girl with the chestnut hair and white blouse. Henry watched her from the window of his store. She held the newspaper open over her head. She was laughing and screaming in shock with every errant wind up her billowing black skirt.
A red pick-up went by and splattered her heels with fat sewer soused rain drops. Incredulous, she gestured at the driver, leaving her head unprotected. The shapes her mouth made revealed it all. He saw anger, he saw frustration.
Finally, she brought the newspaper back up over her head and continued down the street. Henry wondered why she didn’t stop in his store; maybe dry off, have some of the free tea he offered. The sign was as plain as day, right there in the window.
How her curls bounced, he thought. His mouth began to salivate. Quickly, he moved towards the windows.
There was a little nook up front where the back of a bookcase and the shape of the storefront birthed a little room. In it, he had his free tea and two chairs. He also had a stack of old inventory books. Henry was not the best shop keeper. He had an inventory, but it was not comprehensive. He often gave people books, or lent them and never got them back. All but one from this stack was filled.
He counted down seven spines and pulled one out with a soft blue cover. Thumbing through, he came to the page with the next available line.
“She looked like a Helen, I think.” He wrote down Helen and scribbled some other notes. With his fingertips he felt the other names he had written, his heavy hand carving the letters onto the pages.
The book snapped shut, like a barking drill sergeant. Henry returned to his stool behind the counter. He had a little TV up there. The clicks of the knob took him to the baseball game. Rain delay.
He chuckled at himself. Perhaps he thought the girl with the chestnut hair had the rain all to herself, just to show him her dance?
“Helen.” He corrected himself. Grabbing his pipe, he sat back to wait out the rain.