Cambridge Snapshot

by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

Biking down Mass. Ave., ponytail flapping, he passes a scooter, ear-bud joggers, a girl texting on her phone. A gray Honda door swings close and he whacks it out of the way with the side of his fist.

“What the hell?” the driver yells.

Pedals through the intersection, parks at Simon’s coffee shop, slips off his backpack, starts pinning blue flyers to the cork bulletin board. A woman stands waiting, her hair like a fluffy lavender dandelion.

The friend arrives, stoop-shouldered, short and plump. The cafe’s narrow as a bowling-alley, usually jammed, have to wait for a black marble table until someone gets up and leaves. The drinks are frothy, the sandwiches and pastries a la Française, but the black bistro chairs uncomfortably narrow even for slender bodies. The two substantial women look, don’t go in.

Bike guy’s zipping his backpack, shaggy sneakers so worn his ankles tilt. Lavender woman’s friend asks for a flyer, and he gives her a blue one, watches the women walk away, then slips his pack over his shoulder, rolls his bike toward Linnaean Street.

I cover the camera lens, as people can get annoyed at a stranger taking their photo without permission, don’t care about my curiosity. Last week I managed closeups of a gaggle of turkeys in Harvard Square, cars slowed down, people laughed, as big toms can get nasty.

In the yard next to the coffee shop a kid’s kicking a soccer ball into the hedges yelling ‘Score!,’ his high stakes fantasy game. I cross the street, consider getting coffee, hear the kid shout ‘Score’ again.

My phone’s blinking. Someone texting? Nope, just spam junk.