E WALKED TOWARDS Red Square.
His Levi's were faded, his hair unkempt. Everyone seemed to be going the
other way. No one looked at him but he heard: "Sell your jeans? Seventy
dollars." He shook his head and tried to make it seem that a fly was
bothering him. He hurried to the next block.
It was gray in June. The sidewalks were wide, the buildings
old and solid. Tired men plodded by, hands in pockets. Housewives brushed
past them with paper bags full of groceries. A few little girls were skipping
hand in hand, under the watchful eyes of sisters learning to be mothers;
the older kids with their loads of books looked as stolid as their parents.
The whole crowd was ready for home.
She was about twenty and she was looking up. He avoided
her eyes but noticed the spring in her step. She threw her arms around his
shoulders, kissed his lips and was gone. When he turned, she was almost
lost in the crowd. No one seemed to have noticed.
Wow, he thought, I've turned into a symbol.