15 December 2009

Balaclava noon

They sit on the bench, early afternoon, under a tree that somehow reminds them of home. The street is hot and smells of coffee grinds, slightly rotting garbage and brake fluid. A sea breeze wafts it all clean. One man is old, grey and slim with an aqualine nose. He sits cross-legged, face in profile, reminding me of a pedigree cat or a French aristocrat. The other man is new school, body mass slightly having outgrown his frame, a tee shirt that could have cost $300 or come as a care parcel via St Vinnies when he received permanent resident status. New man takes out a maroon jeweller's pouch, glances around and empties it into his hand like a crack dealer. An elegant gold band catches the hot sun.
"All original stones," he says in a language that I speak but in a tone of voice I do not understand.