She reminded me of a turtle. Slow, purposeful, reclusive. Like she carried an invisible load on her back which made her move very slowly to bear its weight.
A turtle is somewhat of an enigma – who knows what it does once tucked inside its shell for the night? What does it think, with such surplus time for contemplation in a world of perennial slow motion? I couldn’t help but wonder the same of her.
I first noticed her in the city, the world about her frenetically charged and moving at speed; like a tribal beat urging my heart to speed up, to match its pace, to become part of the rhythm. To contribute. But she was set apart from this scene by her very stillness.
Like a breath caught in lung, suspended.
But she wasn’t inert, far from it. Her eyes noted everything. They didn’t dart about, exactly. But were so large, her peripheral vision must have stretched beyond her forward gait to include her left and right, and what now lay in her wake – as if her conciousness could magically pirouette and tally this town in a split second. She was drinking it all in, as I was drinking her in.
She had smile lines at her eyes, which felt strange to me. I wondered if ageing had any effect if the person existed in a vacuum of anti-motion. She had long, artistic fingers. Longer than a turtle ought to have, if she were to shrink sudden inside her shell at the sign of first strife.
She crossed the street. I held my breath, waiting for the lights to change and the cars to punctuate her progress. Somewhat disappointingly, she made it across with seemingly endless nanoseconds to spare … as if the world marched to her beat after all.
It was in that moment I decided to follow her, though I’m not sure the choice was mine. It was as if she pulled me after her, as she slid around a corner and out of my sight. Her sudden absence was like being woken from the quiet of hypnosis.
Unwelcome and overly bright.