Every Good Morning

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Pushing the broom across the floor in an empty mall early on Saturday, she kept her eyes down, but then flicked them up and around,  stealthily. I guessed that she was trying to make herself small — Latino, dark haired, older, just a woman sweeping a floor. A girl in front of me said good morning to her quietly, and the sweeper smiled a quick smile, one gold tooth trapping a hint of light, and then, eyes dropping to the floor, she returned to the practice of invisibility.

Annette looked up at me, wearily, a small woman whose name was my sister’s name; her forearm bore the mark of a hand, four red fingers wide. She favored it as she processed my card. Working slowly, squinting at the computer screen, she stood twisted to the left, in pain I thought, and then she smiled and asked if there was anything I could do for her. She caught her mistake and apologized, but I wonder if she caught any part of my quick red thought in reply, “Yes, introduce me to ‘red fingers’ and let us have a chat.”

© Mike Wall

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