seen and unseen

Maybe it was time to move, she thought. But go where?

Everything was better before that restaurant arrived downstairs – before those umbrellas popped open. Had they even gotten permission to string them across the street like that – blocking everyone’s view?

The restaurant came, and now carrying her heavy shopping bags to her second floor apartment made her have to stop, catch her breath on the first-floor landing before continuing. Knees popping and aching all the way.

Those umbrellas! They made it impossible for her to continue using her rope-and-basket.

Her emotions ricocheted when the first one had been hung. Anger, self-pity, anger again, frustration. Had Leandro been alive, this never would have happened. But now, it was just her. The restaurant had won. When she looked out, all she saw were umbrellas.

She’d tried speaking to the manager. The knot of hair perched on top of his head bounced every time he told her no – there was nothing he could do.

Over and over, he repeated himself, each time more slowly as though she were an idiot.

What was it about young people? Were old people somehow relegated to an invisible caste – the ignored, the unseen?

It wasn’t like she had actually screamed at him. Okay, so her voice had gotten a little loud. Surely it was justified. And maybe she’d threatened to yank at that stupid bobbling bun on his head, but she was 78 – who would take her seriously?

She’d had a system. Before leaving to buy food, from her balcony, she’d dropped a basket tied to a length of rope down to the first floor. She filled it with heavier items – cans of tomatoes and corn, milk, packets of rice, flour. Sometimes, the waiter from the café next door loaded her basket while she hurried up the stairs to hoist it onto her tiny balcony. Now, rows of floating umbrellas blocked the basket’s ascent.

Everything was different now.

Maybe it was time to move, she thought. But go where?

Everything was better before that restaurant arrived downstairs – before those umbrellas popped open. Had they even gotten permission to string them across the street like that – blocking everyone’s view?

The restaurant came, and now carrying her shopping bags to her second-floor apartment made her have to stop, catch her breath on the first-floor landing before continuing. Knees popping and aching all the way.

Those umbrellas! Making it impossible for her to continue using her rope-and-basket system.

Her emotions ricocheted when the first one had been hung. Anger, self-pity, frustration, anger again. Had Leandro been alive, this never would have happened. But now, it was just her. The restaurant had won. Looking out, all she saw were umbrellas.

Oh! She’d tried speaking to the manager. The knot of hair perched atop his head bounced every time he told her no – there was nothing he could do.

He’d obviously thought she was an idiot. Why else would he repeat himself, more and more slowly each time?

What was it about young people? They somehow relegated old people to an invisible caste – the ignored, the unseen?

It wasn’t like she had actually screamed at him. Okay, so her voice had gotten a little loud. Surely it was justified. And maybe she’d threatened to yank that stupid bobbing bun on his head, but she was 78 – who would take her seriously?

She’d had a system to transport her groceries upstairs. Before leaving home, she’d dropped a basket tied to a length of rope from her balcony down to the first floor. She filled it with heavier items – cans of tomatoes and corn, milk, packets of rice, flour. Sometimes, Tiago, the waiter from the café next door, loaded her basket while she hurried upstairs to hoist it onto her tiny balcony. Now, rows of floating umbrellas blocked the basket’s ascent.

Everything was different now.

No Leandro. Just loneliness.
No more basket-and-rope. Just noise from the restaurant.
No clear view of the street. Just glimpses of life below through the spaces between the ever-swaying umbrellas.

 

No Leandro. Just loneliness.
No more basket-and-rope. Just noise from the restaurant.
No clear view of the street. Just glimpses of life below through the spaces between the ever-swaying umbrellas.

350-word story challenge – seen and unseen 350 words


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One Comment Add yours

  1. Amna Mohamed says:

    This one needs more thought.
    Umbrellas?
    Metaphor for what?
    Things hidden?
    Waiting for discovery?
    Umbrellas create a barrier.
    Umbrellas also shelter and protect.

    So maybe the heroine in this story needs to make a change in her modus vivendus.
    The umbrellas seal the view of her old life.

    Like

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