Today, entering the supermarket in my neighbourhood, I was irritable and hot and in a hurry. I was on my way to collect my basket, just outside the supermarket, when a vision made me stop short and catch my breath.
It was a group of Chinese tourists entering the supermarket ahead of me. But I was in time to catch sight of one of them, a girl with unusually black hair (can there be shades of black?). Yes, I think so. It was night black, coal black. I could not think of anything blacker although, conceivably, there might have been. Then I caught sight of her skin. It was as though it had never been touched by the rays of the sun. It was astonishing. Gradually, although it took only milliseconds, I registered the unusual design of her straw hat, small, and unlike I had ever seen before but it seemed to me to be in high fashion in the East. And then, almost as an afterthought, came her dress … I think it must have been silk … in a blur of flowers and .. whatever the design was, but it was so delicate …faded red flowers although I might be wrong …it seemed like a breeze on this hot day. And, so delicate was she, although quite tall I imagine for a Chinese, that she too seemed like a delicate breeze blowing though the supermarket.
I have forgotten her eyebrows. They were dark, as though administered by the darkest co’ohl. But of course her eyebrows were natural and very, very dark as if designed to accentuate her porcelain skin – and again I must emphasize – I had the impression her skin had never been touched by the rays of the sun., as though she came from a strange land where the sun never shone.
And so she dissolved, as it were, into a group of Chinese tourists, some old, some young, and they each had something, I thought, perhaps it was that their clothes were different, not of European fashion. I passed onto to further aisles, looking for castor oil. How brief magic is.