Yogi laughs and tells him, in braying falsetto, that the first breath of fresh air is invigorating and Robesh is immediately in the divorce lawyer’s office as the man with the comb-over tells his mother exactly the same thing. She held his hand so tight he didn’t think she’d ever let go.
Yogi likes to pick on Robesh whose name is not Robesh at all. He tells him that when he comes back from La La Land he will need to stack the generic feminine products in aisle two then scoop the potato salad. It is an American holiday, after all, and they will want their potato salad and such. “Picnics there will be,” Yogi says, finger pointed solemnly.
Robesh can hear the undertone of brass instruments and feels a strange thrum in his chest that is part heart and part anticipation. There is a parade in town. He doesn’t smoke, but thinks it might be a good time to start. He grabs a pack from behind the register where Yogi’s wife Sarita, her bindi like a third eye, talks a mile a minute on a tiny phone to someone far away.
Robesh has been looking outside of the door all morning, but needs, right at the moment, to be on the other side. Yogi watches him from inside and mimes a newborn baby encountering light outside of the womb. Robesh is not his real name anyway. His mother always said “never, ever a junior”. It simply wasn’t meant to be.
Yogi taps his watch when Robesh looks his way. He is just getting the hang of his cigarette, looks at it smoking itself between his thick fingers, feels the burning coolness that he would find hard to describe.
Back inside, Yogi asks, do I know you? Who are you? He points to aisle two. Robesh can hear the pumping volume of the parade, a sad backdrop to the day, but now his break is over. He hears the bell over the door as someone comes in for a lottery ticket, a six-pack of cheap beer. When the door opens he hears the marching band play the notes he remembers from when he was a kid. His mother held his hand tight then, too.
When the door to the market closes, he forgets everything all over again.
Photo Source: Bridge and Tunnel Club
© 2011 Michelle Reale. All rights reserved.