-from The Minotaur, by Benjamin Tamuz
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
"A MAN, WHO was a secret agent, parked his car in a rain-drenched square and took a bus into town. That day he had turned forty-one, and as he dropped into the first seat he came across, he closed his eyes and fell into bleak contemplation of his birthday. The bus pulled up at the next stop, jerking him back to consciousness, and he watched as two girls sat down on the empty seat in front of him. The girl on the left had hair the color of copper–dark copper with a glint of gold. It was sleek and gathered at the nape of her neck with a black velvet ribbon, tied in a cross-shaped bow. This ribbon, like her hair, radiated a crisp freshness, a pristine freshness to be found in things as yet untouched by a fingering hand. Whoever tied that ribbon with such meticulous care? wondered the man of forty-one. Then he waited for the moment when she would turn her profile to her friend, and when she turned to her friend and he saw her features, his mouth fell open in a stifled cry. Or did it perhaps escape from his mouth? Anyway, the passengers did not react."