Monday, January 05, 2015


She walked through the 7-11 doors with her mom right beside her. I was paying for stuff at the register. The girl was thirteen. Fourteen, maybe. Purple-framed John Lennon-glasses perched square on her nose. She wore a dark black sweatshirt with the pink words 'HELLO, DARLING' written right on her chest. Her mother was wearing one of those masks Japanese wear when they don't want to get sick. Or are already sick. The mum reached out her hand and rubbed her daughter's cheek, a slight little slide on the underside of her nose. The teenager sort of smiled. It looked to my eyes like a little flick of love from a parent to child. A kind of 'I-got-you' light scratch. Or maybe the mother was merely getting rid of a smudge of ketchup from those french fries at lunchtime. Either way. The girl went to one part of the store. The mom went to another. I felt like I had accidentally seen something intimate, and in its own tender way as private and pure as an open-mouthed kiss.

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