The little mouse

Something in her face made one think of a tiny countryside mouse. Moving around the shop silently, her body seemed to occupy as little space as possible, shrinking at will where the table corners and chairbacks obstructed her way, writhing and bending awkwardly each time she stretched to reach for something on the higher shelves or crouching to store the less requested goods in the lower ones. I suspected that if one could look into her lungs, they would be only half full, so careful was she to take as little as possible for herself.  Her face was moderately pleasant, but behind the ordinary glasses and shy manners people hardly noticed it. If a friend asked her why she was hiding, she would refute the affirmation in half voice, as if she only half believed in her words.

Diligently working side-by-side with her husband, she sometimes wondered at the energy some customers displayed: loud voice, ample gestures, flashy clothing, busy life. But most of the time she did not bother to wonder about anything, just taking everything at face value and questioning no one. Her husband always told her she was so naïve, but was she? She knew that life was a string of events and duties and whatever their shapes, they still lead to the same end. She was glad to let the others do the running, while she took her time to smell the flowers along her path.

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