Yellow, Mountain, Lipstick
There is a yellow scarf in that shop and I want it. Just, yellow. In an open air market in a large village in Africa. I forget the name. Elephants trumpet in the distance, the natives treat them like family. Monkeys chatter and scold from the nearby trees, fussing at the dogs and goats that come too close.
I sit and remove my straw hat, wiping my brow with a kerchief I keep in my pocket. A yellow scarf. It would look lovely against my brown skin, both colors bringing out the best in each other. Nothing wrong with a little sunshine around the shoulders, eh? No red hats for this old lady, no sir. I’m not a vain person, per se. I try to remember to comb my hair once a day before leaving the house. I might remember to do it again after getting up from a nap – and I might not! But that scarf. So very pretty with embroidery worked along all the ends and tassels hanging down from the edge. It’s very nice.
It is just a bit warm today, I think I’ll rest by this shop a few moments longer and just imagine a cool spring day along the river near the base of the mountain, Kilimanjaro don’t you know. The big mountain. Green grass and butterflies, birds singing in the spring breeze. The water flows along, bringing fresh alpine air with it, that fresh clean crisp air from high up in frozen places. It smells like snow melting into the earth, like spring itself. I would wear that scarf around my shoulders as I walk the river’s edge.
I spy a fish in the stream, darting nervously. He runs from rock to rock, just a little guy and wary of bigger fish and even bigger shadows from up above. Many a strong bird has swooped down to claim others in the water. One must be careful. A little further on a frog balances on a rock at the water’s edge. He has his eye on a huge grasshopper clinging perilously to a long stalk of grass nearby. Lunch, I daresay. Maybe supper too, by the size of the thing. It’s huge.
I wipe the sweat from my brow again, and scoot a little further into the shade of the awning in front of the shop. It really is hot today. The store owner will soon be after me to move on, move on. How is he to get any customers with a wrinkled old mother sitting on his porch? He sells belts and purses and scarves. Whatever, I want to return to my lovely little imaginary world. A yellow scarf.
It would cover my hair, streaming out behind me as I drive a convertible down off the mountains in California. Malibu or somewhere nice like that. Are there mountains in Malibu? Who knows? I tie my yellow scarf like grace Kelley would have, or like Marilyn Monroe did. Black sunglasses. Let ‘er rip! I fly down the mountainside as the wind streams past. It plucks at stray strands of hair and flings them in my face and mouth. That stings a little. Red lipstick smile, the world is good.
Someone taps me on the shoulder. The shop owner. I am sorry, I will move – but no. He smiles and hands me a bottle of water. Mother of earth, he calls me. Sit and drink. Well it’s hot and I may just do that. He moves back behind his makeshift counter. It’s better, yes? He asks. Yes, I smile. It’s better. I sip.
I will buy the yellow scarf. He is pleased and not surprised. He understands about streams and mountains, about Marilyn Monroe sunglasses and convertible cars. I drape it around me, treasuring the silky feel of it. The shop owner gestures for me to slip it down one shoulder a bit. Then he motions to tip my hat to the side a bit. He nods and smiles. He must sell a lot of scarves.