From her bedroom door, she yells angrily.
I ask: “What’s happening?
-She does not understand English”
Whispers a voice behind me.
She invites me in,
Guides me into the bathroom.
Her piercing tone and gestures
Tell that something
Was transferred from the sink to the toilet
(I recognize the word TOALET)
And now IT is gone.
She explains the disaster again and again.
We stare at the empty
Shining white sink and commode.
She sobs loudly.
She goes to sit on her bed, head in her hands.
I sit next to her.
She let me be there.
A few wisps of red henna hair
Escaped from her silk head scarf
Frame her wrinkled cheeks.
She seems to look around for a handkerchief.
I get up and find a paper napkin.
She is thankful.
Carefully she tears it in two.
She saves one half under her pillow
Pat her eyes with the other half.
We look at each other
My face, my sighs, my bent shoulders
Echo her distress
I want to hug her small body but
Instead place my palm against her back
She let me.
I am surprised by the softness of her cashmere sweater.
She speaks quickly, harshly.
With my two hands, I mirror her hand gestures.
She let me
My gaze is distracted
By the word UNIVERSAL
Inscribed on the insole of her slippers
On the floor, at the foot of the bed.
Is it a message?
Her voice has become softer.
I have another commitment.
“Excuse me, I have to leave now.”
Slowly I lift my hand away from her back
Carefully I stand up.
She stands up with me.
Is she going to follow me?
Facing her, I bow, Japanese style
A few times, with great respect.
She bows too.
She let me go.