Barcelona; August 18 2012
Yesterday I went into the supermarket below the apartment to buy almonds. It was hot. The two girls who were working sat outside, smoking beside a small selection of weary-looking fruits. One wore a blue uniform, collared short-sleeve, the other wore bright pink (maybe she wasn’t working, maybe she was only a friend).
Inside the shop, which was narrow but relatively deep, it was quiet and stuffy and fluorescently lit. Like you could see everything far too clearly considering how hot it was.
The girl in blue reluctantly paused mid-smoke to ring me through. And this day she actually spoke to me: “Qué calor, eh?” And we spoke about the weather, me asking what was normal for which season, her asking me where I am from. When people think of Canada, they think of cold, and they never think first of Vancouver.
This girl is beautiful, but strangely so. The fluorescence lights upon her face, giving me access to what shouldn’t be seen—her foundation perhaps a shade too light for her skin, making it seem translucent. Like if I looked long enough, I might begin to see her blood flow around her muscles—the ones around her mouth, where there are so many.
And the fluorescence reflected in the blue of her eyes—a different blue than that of her collar, a universe away—made them shine like marbles. This artificial supermarket light, what is it doing? Illuminating the surface; giving it spark; making it something you could light a match upon—something I didn’t expect?