Beneath the south arch supporting the medieval shop rested an ancient looking crone. Her scarf tied loosely under her chin adorned her complicated face. Spongy sandals comforted her toes. She dressed in tidy dark skirt and vest. The tiny woman smoked her cigarette and tilted a bunch of white hydrangea and gold mums toward me.
Her face was carved in abstract creases shaped by time. The wrinkles gave her the look of wisdom and suffering that comes from experiencing life with unguarded emotions. But her folded skin was not a true guide to her spirit. It was her eyes looking straight into mine, not with insight but with mischief and delight and recognition, that hinted at some joy she felt in that moment. She sipped her espresso from the little crimson cup and balanced it back on a stone at her feet next to an enormous yellow shopping bag, a bright sunflower printed on its shiny surface.
Between us stretched the cobblestone street that made our joints ache. Perhaps we noticed each other because we were the only two women in Shighisoara who wore sensible shoes this hot afternoon. But I feel it was something else that brought us together. She sat in the threshold, one door open to the long shady corridor behind her leading to a locked iron gate, the other door closed next to her showing the engraved pattern gracing its edge. The old architecture of the square juxtaposed with that of this knarly sweet person spoke to me.
I asked if I could photograph her and she nodded and sat straighter, posing. When she saw her images on my camera screen she smiled in silent approval. But I know I heard her say, “Today was a good day.”
These photographs are my contribution to the WordPress weekly photo challenge: Today Was a Good Day. I met this woman in Transylvania this summer. The experience hasn’t left me. A story waits here, an exchange between us that calls to be developed. Soon enough.
This week’s photo challenge asked us to create a Mesh gallery. It didn’t feel right for these two photos but I will try it out in another post when I have a gallery to exhibit.