table, she was just passing by. The tray wobbled in her
hands and all the plates crashed to the floor. They were
going to fire her on the spot. Luckily the guy did the right
thing and paid for all the plates and all the food. After that
the men were more careful, they only tugged at her braid
once she’d put the plates on the table, otherwise every last
plate would have gotten broken, and not through any fault
of hers. Unless you could blame the braid. If you ask me,
girls or women who work in cafeterias, especially on
building sites like that, they shouldn’t be too good-looking.
Nice, polite, of course, but not too good looking.
Sometimes she’d wear her braid up on her head in a bun.
Maybe it was for self-protection, because how else can you
protect yourself when you’ve got the kind of braid that just
begs to be grabbed and held for at least a moment. Or
perhaps she wanted to look nicer, who can tell. Though in
my book she had no need to look nicer. Without the braid,
though, she looked quite different, she became kind of
unapproachable, haughty. When she put the bowl or the
plate in front of you, she seemed to be doing you a favor. I
didn’t like the bun. I thought to myself, when she’s my wife
I’ll tell her I prefer the braid. With the braid, when it swung
back and forth behind her back she looked, I don’t know
how to put it, like she’d only just risen into the world.
You’re smiling . . . my imagination’s a bit old-fashioned,
right? But that was how I felt back then. Though if you
think about it, don’t you reckon we continue to imagine