Kitsilano Portraits


Not yet fifty but chunky as women are at that age, in short black boots, pressed jeans, black turtleneck, and Irish knit pullover. The stitches stretch. Big hands, one swollen and curled and cradled in her lap. She has a round face, with a large pale mole to the side of one eye, and bleached hair, cut short around the ears with enough left for a skiff of curls across the crown. She dips orange cake now into decaffeinated latte, her lips moving before she tastes.


He sits, in a well-pressed gray suit, deep inside the softly lit restaurant, long fingers tapping as he talks to a platinum-haired woman somewhat older than himself. She wears a rough wool coat, off-white and wrapped as if she were cold or wanting to go home. Perhaps she is his wife, perhaps his secretary, perhaps a woman with whom he meets to solicit her dying husband’s collection of fine antiques or rare coins or precious paintings. Below the table, his sex stands strong.


Red–in her hair, her glasses, her coat draped over the chair, her knee-length striped socks, and behind her on the wall of the sushi restaurant and beneath the book she reads, on the table itself. She wears a black pullover, under that a white shirt polka-dotted with pink, a brown herringbone skirt snug across her hips as she sits, brown shoes. Paying, she pulls out a leopard-skin purse. Out of that, a lime and pink billfold. All of this–and when she rises to leave, a limp.

Vaughan Chapman