The lady in the red dress

She had on a pale, red dress. Her walk was slow and measured. It was weighed down by the bags that she held on either shoulder.  

And all i wanted to do was click her picture. 

8ish in the morning. Pre-lockdown days.

Just about done with my walk/jog, I had passed the Mount Mary church, away from the shops selling Jesus and Mother Mary candles — burning a mother before a mother, hmmn. Between checking out new music on Spotify & checking out a smart girl in running gear walking by, is when i see her. 

The lady with the bags. 

The first thing i noticed about her was the red dress. Also, she had scant hair. Strands neatly combed back over the length of her head, the scalp glaring through the gaps no longer embarrassed at the loss. 

She walked with slow, measured steps. Of course, her age did not help, but mostly it was the bags she carried, big cloth ones around each shoulder and a couple of plastic carry bags. She held them in a firm grip as she walked uphill towards the church, in the opposite direction. 

Somehow in the midst of watching her, my hand had worked on my phone to find the camera icon & set it on ‘photo’ mode. Without even realising it, my hand with the mobile rose up to meet my eye. 

But i had to force it down as she looked towards me. 

She continued to look towards me as she walked ahead. It’s only when she got really close, did i see the glazed look in her eyes. Cataract. 

My phone rose again. The camera lens rose against my eyes. I saw her approaching – 

The lady in the red dress with her bags. 

I lost my nerve, couldn’t click the picture. She passed me by. 

I saw her dress again. The dress was made in the era of midnight waltzes & new year balls. It now hung loose, comfortable in its faded avatar, yet a flair & turn showed off what it was once upon a time before becoming this travelling frump.

I clicked a picture of her. 

I lowered my camera, watched her fade away. Then I looked at the pic.

The lady in the red dress with her bags. 

I looked up. She wasn’t to be seen. I sighed and deleted the picture. Put on my music again and walked away. 

Writing credits – Soni Anthony.

Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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