The Lady with the Lemons

10 minute flash fiction

Photo prompt:

Photo prompt flash fiction

Image via Flickr by Vinoth Chandar

Keshika sat by her produce stand. She didn’t call out to the few pedestrians that wandered by the way other food stalls did. After nearly forty years of sitting on the same plastic milk crate, looking out at the same alleyway, Keshika knew that harassing people would make little different to her sales.

Instead, she simply sat. If one didn’t know her, they might think her bored, or even frustrated. Her lips protruded slightly, almost in a pout, her eyes were half lidded. She only really seemed to come alive when a customer stopped to inspect her lemons or cauliflower. Then she would smile and her eyes would light up. Her face would be transformed and a watching stranger might think, “ah, now she is happy.”

But they would be wrong. Keshika secretly adored these quiet moments. She sat forward on her crate, allowing her spine to find a natural, comfortable curve. She interlaced her fingers in her lap and stared at nothing in particular. Then she breathed.

She counted 108 breaths without interruption.

It was a slow day. Keshika felt someone looking at her but didn’t turn around.

She imagined her mind was a wide blue sky and her thoughts were clouds. She watched the clouds drift through her mind and waited for moments of clear blue. These were the moments she treasured most. The quiet moments between breaths, between heart beats, between thoughts.

Sitting on an ancient pale blue plastic milk crate, in an alley that smelled of old rot and fresh garbage, Keshika Acharya felt the hum of the universe as her eyes slowly closed.

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