We sit at a table in a foreign street, watching the world go by as we eat.
'He' spies him first, about 14 and blond in a land of the dark haired.
A tenseness, as if expecting someone late, or some unpleasant consequence to come.
And so, intrigued, I watch some more.
A local by his face and dressed in the 'sportif' style of youth, his hair short on the side and mop on top. A yellow book somehow gripped through his shirt, as if to avoid marking with his hand.
The man, of middle age, beard due for its weekly trim, comes from the bookshop close by. He approaches and speaks to the boy, who takes a step away as if to keep his distance.
The man turns and walks briskly to the other branch of the shop across the street.
The boy runs to follow, but stops on the threshold, and, as if expelled, turns back, unsure.
With the book now held in one, both hands knead his back, as might some older man with troubled bones. The stiffness real or a substitute for some other kind of ache?
What private drama plays in this public space? I watch on, prurience now marbled with concern.
A summons from within, unheard by us, and the boy runs inside.
Half a minute and the pair return to where first the boy was seen, the man leading from behind.
As witnessed by his posture, he speaks with intensity to the boy. We are not close enough to hear and no voice raised enough to let the tone betray some meaning.
With firm hand upon the other's shoulder, the man turns them both to walk past us along the street.
At last we see them both full face..........
Father and son.
Copyright © Pedro 2015
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