This short story is inspired by the photo at the bottom of post – with thanks to Carlos – street musician and of course the incomparable Mimi herself.
Its warm, sticky, Mimi is uncomfortable, too hot. She writhes on Carlos’ lap, trying to find a position that feels good.
She struggles to breathe, but then Mimi always struggles to breathe. She is thirsty and imagines dipping her whole face into a bowl of ice-cold water, but he has forgotten, yet again, to bring the water bottle. Mimi sighs and reconciles herself to a long, dull after noon.
She tries to amuse herself by writhing gentle against the soft fabric of Carlos’ much washed cotton shirt. He may be lazy and feckless, but he is clean and for this, Mimi is grateful.
Absently, feeling her movement against him, he bends, rubs her exposed stomach and she cannot help herself, she bares her teeth in a grin of pleasure. She moves to lick his face,but her pushes her away, embarrassed by her display of public affection.
For a few moments, they sit in companionable silence, both deep in their own thoughts, but Mimi knows it is only a matter of time before Carlos unpacks the violin and begins to play.
Carlos is a terrible violinist , his violon playing is an area of huge internal conflict for Mimi, on one hand, she wishes he would practise more, become a better player so that passers-by would throw more money into his hat, but on the other hand, the noise he makes is so dreadful, almost painful to her sensitive ears, so that she is grateful when he forgets to practise and Carlos need very little encouragement to forget.
Mimi knows exactly what he is, lazy, feckless, but oh so charming. Those deep brown eyes, that lazy smile, sometimes when he looks down at her she feels out of control, her whole body moves with love for him
And she is not the only one, there are always other women, falling on love with that accent, the hat worn at a rakish angle, those long clever sensitive fingers. Mostly, these other women understand her place, her position of permanence, just occasionally Mimi has to show them her dark side, teeth bared in anger, the threat of violence – they get the message.
Mimi has lots of ideas for the act, knows that she needs to be centre stage, the focal point, cute outfits, coordinated accessories. She knows it would work, but no matter how hard she tries, Carlos seems incapable of understanding her.
And so they continue on, one meal from hunger, one day from disaster – life goes on.
Its getting later now, Carlos, thank god, is putting the violin away. He rummies into the battered rucksack, pulls out Mimis’ lead, snaps it onto her collar and they start the long walk home.
She pants. struggling to breathe, tongue protruding from her mouth, gazing up in total adoration at her man.