The Prado Thieves
I noticed her limp immediately
when she sat next to me on the bench
in the park outside of the Prado.
I inquired about her deep brown eyes
behind her octagonal glasses
that looked sad and defeated.
“I was robbed here yesterday,
during siesta,” she said.
“Two men with knives
jumped out from the bushes.”
She was Finnish and her trip to Spain
had to be cut short
because of the incident.
For a moment, I wondered,
but that didn’t stop me from asking
her if I could buy her a cup of coffee.
Minna looked tall and slender
in black jeans and matching leather boots
and her hair billowed while she hobbled
as we walked to a nearby café.
We chatted about our countries
over coffee and chocolate;
I told her about Brooklyn and baseball
and she talked of a girl’s life in Helsinki.
When our cups were empty
we drank cold Spanish lagers
under the café’s awning
and we laughed and connected
and Minna seemed to forget about
the previous day’s terrible afternoon
with each cool sip.
I trusted her true and dusky eyes
and asked her if I could lend her some cash.
“You can mail me a check
when you get home,” I said,
but Minna shook her head.
“At least take some pesatas to get
you through the day,” I added.
I reached for my wallet,
but she touched my knee.
She smiled faintly and brushed her hair
out of her face.
“There is something you can do,” she said.
“I don’t want to leave Madrid
with a bad taste in my mouth.
Can you walk with me
past where I was robbed yesterday?”
My guard went up again and I thought,
for a shameful moment,
that this was part of her plan.
I reluctantly agreed to help Minna
exorcise the thievish bad vibes
and we walked back to the spot of the offense.
She held my hand and I half-expected
a knife-wielding duo
to spring from the shrubbery,
but there was nothing except
for the sleepy midday Spanish sun
poking itself through the canopy of trees.
“Do you feel better?” I asked
as we returned to the bench
in front of the Prado.
She didn’t say anything,
but held my hand tighter.
Copyright © Matt Kindelmann | Year Posted 2020
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