It has just rained and I am walking along the washed-out, uphill cobbled street.
Not a sign of a single soul.
The girls of the night were here, I know. But they are gone now.
Their forlorn figures are only a silhouette in the neatly folded corners of my mind,
Their flapping skirts and weaves flapping vigorously in the much dreaded South Easter.
I see a broken, glistening perfume bottle in smithereens in the aged cobblestone crevices,
The mortar cradles the worthless glass crystals that conjure up minute dancing rainbows.
I stop for a moment to watch these miniature light acrobats cartwheeling in the morning air.
Try as I may, I cannot immortalise this fragile, tender beauty.
There is a sudden gust of air.
It envelopes me in the lingering uninhibited freed scent from the broken bottle.
It is musky without being overpowering.
I imagine the girl of the night who wore it drove some unfulfilled mundane accountant crazy,
Made him feel like a million dollars as his nostrils lapped up the cheaply satisfying molecules
Into his secret memory.
I imagine a smear of perfumed sweat smear his forehead as he imagines his escape from figures and calculators.
This scent invokes an image of a woman with a strong grip and presence,
Unweathered by street life and harshness of the world.
I keep walking and a few strides away from broken bottles and acrobatic rainbow colours
I see footprints of blood.
Bits of snatched synthetic hair and saucer-size pools of blood.
I hope the strong woman is still breathing.
I hope she caught a few wafts of her strength that still lingers in this air that I now wade through.
I hope she knows that the world has room for her to inspire beauty even in her broken bottles and
Beauty is inspiration.
Inspiration is change.
Change is inevitable growth in many directions.
I am changing.
Image by Jeanette Fellows
Frank Malaba © 2017