We were standing near the plaza at dusk , sipping the warm night air in drunken slurps and sighing giggles
Talking spirals, languid and bold convictions, volleying small statements and large ideas
I saw her behind this happy haze, my eyes scanning the forms that moved in and out of shops
Navigating sidewalks four hundred-years old in freshly purchased high desert souvenirs
Tourists gazes fixed toward the next margarita bar, stepping around her without seeing
She was leaning heavily over a muted grey walker, shuffling achingly slow from curb to street, a small mist between the crowds, clutching a brown restaurant bag of dinner leftovers, and in the other firm grip, and tote full of unknown belongings
Her shawl was familiar; brightly colored and contrasting patterns of her long flowing skirt.
She seemed out of rhythm with her surroundings, or quite possibly from another time, another sunset long ago, on that same street
Before I could understand the quiet synapses, I was getting up and then crossing the street and introducing myself and offering to carry her bags
Without pause for posterity or ego, she gladly handed them and our steps fell into sync, on the way to her parked car blocks away
She had just finished a round of aggressive chemo after a hysterectomy had not rid her body of the cell mutations
She was to decide if she would undergo another round, due to begin next Friday
It made her weak, she frustratingly explained, sick and unable to see the plays and art shows she liked. Besides, she cheerfully added, there was going to be a new exciting show at the Lensic that following Sunday, and would we like to go?