Perfect Fried Chicken. Orhans Cafe.
Two men leaning over a car.
Baggy trousers, hoodies, bling.
She hadn't noticed him when she boarded the bus. She was reflecting on a pleasant evening. Good food. Good wine. Good conversation. A playful smile on her lips she was imagining what of the night she'd recount to the man who wasn't hers. (And pondering when).
Polish restaurant with no name. Taste of Cameroon.
Two teenagers sauntering along.
Fitted suits, shoes, yarmulkas.
She turned slowly, narrowing her eyes, peering at the man in the seat behind. Sorry?
He repeated his request insistently. Can I touch your hair, please?
Why do you want to touch my hair? She fired back. Abruptly. Startled.
I've never felt curly hair before.
The words ran through her mind. Mental health. Psycho. Harmless. Dangerous.
It's just like straight hair but a different shape. She cringed, annoyed, asking herself how stupid her answer had sounded as she started to wonder who else was looking and listening.
I would like to feel how the curl springs. He sounds like a child, she thought, wanting to know how the wheels on a bike go round or a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
The okay just came out. Heart pounding, laughing too loudly, she added, be gentle!
She resisted the urge to screw up her eyes, grit her teeth and clench her fists to wait the unknown but watched as he, fascinated, carefully and methodically straightened one length of curls before letting go. Ping! His eyes shone and his body gave an involuntary jerk.
He marked the end of the exchange. Slowly, courteously and with a nod of the head he said thank you. He folded his hands in his lap and turned to look out the window.
Green Papaya. Dolphin pub.
Two men spilling kebabs on the pavement.
Ben Sherman shirts, jeans, trainers.