Hatch Chiles

Just the other day, I caught her in a trance outside Whole Food Market. An elderly lady with a halo of modest white curls and an unassuming striped purple t-shirt. She had frozen outside the entrance of the store, curls blowing with each artic AC blast from the swish of the glass doors. Transfixed, she contemplated the display of hatch chile peppers. They come into season around August and September in Houston. They’re a wrinkled, deep, earthy red, looped up in generous bunches over the wooden rack. Wrinkled just like her softly lined face. And she had such a beautifully pleasant smile. A tranquility resting within the lines. I wondered what she was thinking. How a rack of looped peppers had transported her to somewhere else, or someone else, or some other time. Beat. Shaking her head, she bows slightly and steps inside the silent automatic sliding doors. Swallowed whole.


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