An unseeing dance

A flash fiction about a chance encounter full of ambiguity and unspoken dialogue.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Gender: an unseeing dance

“Madame,” she said, as she reined in the fluffy enthusiasm of her dog that was eager to get in its own wet-nosed hello. To greet people politely in French, you need to be able to identify their gender. There’s a certain risk to it.

“Monsieur,” he replied, correcting her automatically, only to wonder why he did. He was quite happy to be seen as a woman, even delighted. If only it happened more often. As if that could confirm his secret wishes without him having to spell them out.

In the resulting confusion he patted the dog on the head, saying, “I’m flattered to be called a woman.” It was only a rough approximation of what he wanted to say, but it would have to do. His words clearly confused her even more. How could she possibly understand? His point of view was not apparent to her.

“I don’t see very well,” she said, unwittingly confirming his unspoken thoughts. No, she didn’t see. How could she?

“And I am disguised,” he replied. Another approximation. He wasn’t, of course, but his words referred tangentially to a reality the woman had no access to. His turn to be unwittingly close to the truth. What an odd conversation dancing round unseen, unspoken realities.

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