May 4, 2011

15 The Hunched Thief

Dressed in casual slacks and a sweater she browsed the ready to eat section on the first floor of the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. She walked bent over in a slouch position her feet making shovelling sounds as she travelled through the store. Her hair completely gray handed over her face. She looked between her early to mid sixties. She stopped and hunched backtasted the mini food samples set by stall proprietors to entice and encourage patrons’ through their taste buds to buy. At the bakery she paused briefly to quickly straighten up and grab a piece of bread and ate as she continued on her journey through the stalls. I stood and watched her as I waited for the sales person to finish up with a customer. As I watched the crouched woman approached the snack stall where I stood. She slowed her pace and looked at the kaleidoscopes of snacks which included roasted wasabi beans, sweet gummy bears, cashew, almonds and hazel nuts along with table samples of baklava and other achingly sweet delights. She straightened slightly and took a square of baklava and moved further into the stall. She passed a few bins and then stopped to admire a tray filled with orange squares covered in powdered sugar; it was tightly wrapped in clear plastic. She looked at the tray as if in deep longing and concentration with a huffing sound she continued through the store ending again at the orange sugar delight. She walked away then came back studying the orange concoction then with an audible sign she asked the sales person the price. She thanked the sales woman and circled around one more time returning to the same place. She looked to the sales person and saw that she was busy with another customer and as quick as a ninja she swiftly lifted the plastic covering and snatched off two orange squares shoving them into her mouth. She wiped her mouth and walked the store causally pretending interests in the other goodies. I stood there in surprised shock and watched in awe as she again circled the store and boldly helped herself to a few more then left the store in deliberate slowness stopping at other stalls along her way to eat off the tray of samples.

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