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Deserving a second look

At an intersection of three streets away from my hotel stood a narrow vertical building that caught my attention one morning just as the fog was lifting and in return sending rays of morning sunshine to Porto, Portugal. Ah, it would be a glorious day for a free adventure of my own.

In the blink of an eye, a middle-aged woman - I say that reverently as it was hard to determine her age - came out the lower door by the back entrance wearing a heavy plum knitted coat tied with a silk sash around her stout figure. She was clutching a straw shopping bag with a giant yellow flower woven into it that appeared to have seen better days. Her black hair was pulled back tightly in a bun with a few whisps dangling around her ears. She looked neither at me or to her sides, and rushed off behind the building as if she nearly was late for an appointment. You know how it is when you are fixed on accomplishing your task. That was her.

Just by coincidence I crossed over and followed the middle-aged woman's path carefully putting one foot in front of the other on the uneven cobblestones, and within two streets, she veered off to the right and entered the doorway of a small cafe for her late morning pingo (coffee) I presume. That's a Portuguese ritual, and the ringing of the cluster of bells over the archway brought her into a crowded place from what I could observe.

I left her there well-taken care of.

When I returned several hours later tired feet and all, I glanced up at the building and tried to imagine the layout of an apartment from the inside. Which window(s) belonged to the middle-aged woman's? Was she in her kitchen emptying the contents of her shopping bag? Somewhere in the distance I could hear the jazz music from an undistinguished album, and life goes on.

Porto, Portugal

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