Tuesday, May 02, 2006


You play tourist well, he says. Your eyes become wider. Your voice and hands grow animated.

I pretend to take offence and stop talking for a while. The straps of my backpack leave wrinkles on thin-weave cotton. Grooves at my shoulders develop when I walk for long, my body accommodating the extra weight like a detachable, semi-permanent physical feature.

You play worldly well, I tell him. And we share a smile as we did years ago in another city. I’m suddenly aware of the thin film of sweat that clings to us both. Shiny shoulders and forearms in the heat of an indifferent afternoon. He says I find everything exotic when I’m in a place called elsewhere.

I stretch. We reach for our knapsacks. And agree to meet in another city. Another time.