Friday, June 12, 2009

A new pair of glasses

“Miss Mill,” Umberto greets her when she gets to Carlisle’s building.

She lifts the bag of groceries over the counter. “Good noon, Umberto. This is for Mr. Carlisle.”

“You’re not going up?”

“I have rounds,” she says.

“What do I tell him?”

“That I have rounds.”

Umberto stares at her hopefully.

“Errands,” she says.

“Work for Mr. Carlisle?”

“Yes,” she says.

“I’ll tell him. Good afternoon, Miss Mill.”

“Goodbye, Umberto.”

Mill passes Il Cantinori on her way to University Place. Its french doors are open, and lunchers sit at tables half inside, half outside, sipping wine and eating dull bread.

At Devonshire Optical, the bell klingels as she opens the door. She fishes in her red wallet for her prescription. She wants green frames. She peers through the cases. There is one green pair. The clerk lets her try them on, but they do not suit her face. She sees a light brown pair.

“These,” she says to the clerk. The clerk sits with her at a fitting table to take adjustments then writes her name and address and telephone number on an index card.

“We’ll call when they’re ready,” the clerk says.

“I’ll wear these until then,” Mill says. Mill paid $3 on Minnesota Care for the wire pair. In Minnesota, she wears them for driving and at the theater. In the city she wears them to see to the end of the block and discern faces on Law & Order. Carlisle told her to get new ones.

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