HE 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.