Rachel Ann Harding | Rachel Ann Harding / Boulder, CO / Storyteller, musician, writer, explorer, ukulele trainer

Reflections from behind a Veil

I dressed in a black dress, gloves, a hat and a lace veil. I held a teacup in my hands with bubble solution that I blew out across the wind as people passed by. 
One person.
One flower.
Blowing into the wind. Bubbles blowing away.
Man stands in front of me. Camera out. I blow bubbles as he takes pictures.
“Why are you doing this?”
I smile and say nothing.
Glances and turned heads.
My black gloved hand outstretched, offering a flower.
Trajectory chosen, flower not a part of it.
Who are all these people? Who could they be? Who are they choosing to be?
The first dollar dropped into the suitcase.
A woman who makes the effort to exit the farmers market to get to me.
Bearded man takes the flower and smiles.
This could be something.
Young girls take the flowers and smile shyly.
Woman peers under the lace – “Who is under there?”
Man peers at me – “Can I get a smile?”
I accommodate and he walks away.
They chose the clothes they are wearing.
They chose to fly past on bikes pushing the air around like a current in the sea.
My legs are braced against the uneven ground and my knee starts to hurt.
I understand as I see each person that the world is not dependent on me.
I do not owe the human race to save it.
What I do does not matter.
I am free to walk among these people and not matter.
Thank the gods.
I see them walk in their own worlds.
Chubby baby faces see my eyes and me smile. I smile back.
“Who are you? Are you doing this because you want to? Why are you doing this? You do it because you want people to understand?”
“Ann. Yes. For fun.” Shrug.
I don’t need to have a meaning for people to understand. They will create that for themselves.
“You are a bad-ass!! A real bad-ass!”
You are the first to say that.
The lace keeps people from seeing me but I see them.
I see them through the lace and they can’t see my eyes.
I think it makes me more approachable to some and less to others.
It makes it easier for me to not be seen while seeing.
I see their glances and thoughts about what they are seeing written all over their faces.
Curiosity. Anger. Fear. Blank. Delight. Interested.
As I watch them I realize that I am never without the veil.
They will always show what they are thinking, and it has nothing to do with me.
The veil makes their gazes direct and in that direct line of sight I am invisible.
I hold a flower out over and over. She comes and takes it.
She puts a dollar in the suitcase.
She asks questions too.
I try not to speak. I respond with my body and she sort of understands.
The man with her says someone told him that I had great wisdom to impart.
I give him a flower too.
Should I be done when I run out of flowers?
Out of bubbles? Out of energy?
I don’t know how that works.
I spend 3 hours sitting and $10 on bubbles and flowers.
I make $10 and a bag of Orange Ginger Tea.
Some sweet cheeky person put a tea bag in there.
I make more sense of the world by watching it from behind a lace curtain.
I breathe in the heartbreak and the smallness of the world.
The bigness of being still, blowing bubbles, not talking and yellow flowers.
I trigger smiles and turned heads.
At least 20 people will have a yellow flower travel with them for a while.

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