There were many rumours about the old woman who lived in the big house at the top of the hill. Most of the rumours centred around her absence of any discernible source of income alongside her very apparent wealth. Each day she strolled from her house, into the food district. She bought a cup of tea at the cafe, some flowers from the florist and then she walked back up the hill, not to be seen again till the evening. In the evenings, she walked to one of the many restaurants in the area. She always ate alone.
Yet, it was not her mysterious, solitary practices that primarily caught people’s attention. It was her clothing. To say that the old woman dressed as if she was on a runway was an understatement. She dressed as if she was royalty, and each day was a fabulous occasion. There was something enchanting about the volumes of fabric she surrounded herself with in order to perform the simple task of ordering a cup of masala chai.
From time to time, a car would drive up to the house and the driver would whisk the old lady away, along with several suitcases. Everywhere seemed less alive in her absence. A sombre stillness fell over the places she frequented. It was as if the air itself missed her. When she returned, she brought colour and energy back with her. Even if she came back in the dead of night, there was something in the morning air and the rising sun that revealed her return. No one had to say that she was back. Everyone could feel it.