Life Frames

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

Arms spindly and glass-like with transparent, withered hands splattered with purples and greens of the veins underneath the surface. She grips the metal walking support frame and takes one slow, measured step forward. Support frame and left foot forward in unison first, then the right foot joins. A pause. Light catches in her silvery bonnet as she looks ahead to measure her next manouvre onwards. It catches again, like a white butterfly in dazzling sunlight as all her concentration returns to the support frame. Radiance lasting just a second.

Another careful graduation forwards. This time the support frame is placed first, shortly followed by her right foot and then her left. Slightly quicker than before, she has to take a moment to gather herself. Again, for an instant she became over excited at the feeling of physical stability, certain she could push herself and go faster. Faster towards that youthful girl back in the summer where everything was hazy perfection. A memory that should have faded with time but instead remains clearer than how she prepared her breakfast this morning.  And so, for a fleeting second, she had forgotten for that the girl has left the memory in her head and is here now held in a weak casing that has worn with time. She used to hop skip and jump with her feet barely landing back on the ground, a physical reinactment of what she felt inside. Before she had been buoyant and carefree. Now she takes slow, balanced steps everywhere. Careful, enfuriating steps. Before she didn’t look where she was going, a tumble wouldn’t shatter bones. Another step forward. Throughout her lif she raced forward in anticipation for the next installment. Suddenly, age took a firm grasp and she was trapped in an existence that required her to think out every move. She had to allow for her body to catch up with her racing mind.

And now the girl in the shop window sees her. The shop floor is always empty on a Sunday so she stands between fully dressed manikins and watches the world go by. She moves in a fashion so different to the regular passer by that to the girl, the old woman is almost therapeutic. Her walk is much less hurried, more thoughtful. Fifteen more steps and she disappears past the end of the window. Two hours still to go for the girl on her Sunday shift and hundreds of people to watch flicker by.

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