want, rather than what you want yourselves.â
He pushed away the coffee cup, emptied at great pains to himself and thought, slowly, as if the world would end in moving quickly. His skin was a light tan. He would be fair on most days of the year away from sun.
âI could,â he offered, âbuy you all lunch.â
The sunlight came at the same moment and fell on the giant who had come to make my world so small. His voice was calm in his dealings, but I watched the backs of his hands placed on the counter, the skin raised on them, light fighting through the white hairs, standing on end. If he had lifted those hands they would have been shaking. He did not lift them.
âLunch,â Myrna said, âwould be delightful.â
The women she turned to did not reply. Sergioâs lunches were not famous for being eaten. More women left than stayed and the giant seemed content with that. He had once had chestnut-brown hair and it had lightened to grey. I wanted to touch it to know what made the rivers of colour run their way.
The giant Thomas Cave was not for touching or talking. He ate with us at Myrnaâs table, before photographs. I watched him and he asked, âWho is the child?â
âShe is Sive.â
He did not do the small talk adults insist on using with children.
âWhere did you get your green eyes?â
I looked away from him.
âFrom the same place as her mother. The same place you come from,â Myrna spoke.
Thomas Caveâs turn to look away. He did not discuss himself. Where, he asked, after a while, did Myrna come from?
âHere,â she said as if there were nowhere else.
The giant Thomas Cave held his knife and fork awkwardly; they were too small instruments for such hands. After lunch he got his camera and behind it he was a different man. The giantâs awkward presence smoothed into invisibility. The women forgot he was there; he was patient in letting them forget him. They talked among themselves, did their coming and their going.
I did not forget â I watched all he was as he worked. And Myrna watched me. The hands that held knife and fork so clumsily were deft with this black box, small as a toy in his hands, but part of them.
He passed it to me once, when he felt my eyes on him.
I saw all I needed to know about my world. Carmen came and he put her beside me and we shared our green eyes with him, we were the only two he asked to look directly at the camera. Myrna turned black eyes on him, but not on his lens, and said it was the first time she had allowed her image to be taken away from her. He said that he was privileged. The reluctant subjects eased into the work he did with them. Sergio put his arms on the counter and leaned into a smile.
Thomas Cave took all we offered. Then he was gone. With his camera he could make an almost unseen exit so unlike his cumbersome entrance. Only Myrna and myself watched his departure and took his thanks. Myrna put her hands on my shoulders, said, âWatch, Sive, for when he comes through your door again.â
*Â Â Â *Â Â Â *
Six weeks later photographs arrived of all of us, bar Myrna. A note from Thomas Cave said her image could not be taken from her as it had refused to develop. The days came and went the same way, Welsh Lucy and Thomas Cave forgotten but for the photographs pinned to the mirror behind Sergioâs counter.
11 â¼ Noreen, by Way of Dreams
A WOMAN I did not know came to us by way of dreams. Before they and she came to me, Fanny Martin and I were sitting in Sergioâs CafÃ©. The rain coming down too hard for the punters to be about, Fannyâs talk was as full, as the rain. I pointed to the place where Myrna always sat and Fanny said, âWell, we all want to know more about her. What I learned about Myrna from her own mouth I could write on a postcard. But I know her. Thereâs two kinds of women, Sive, women that do this work out of