Robert Aquino Dollesin

While browsing a souvenir shop in the airport, the man who'd crossed an ocean to marry encouraged his new bride, a woman he'd selected from photographs in a catalog, to assist him in choosing a gift to bring home to his mother. Anyone paying attention to this couple could see they were not yet in sync with one another, nor were they completely comfortable in each other's presence. The man and the woman made their way along the souvenir-filled shelves. He led, she followed. Occasionally, he stopped and picked an item up, asking her what she thought. Because she always nodded, he very gently took her hands in his and told her that he did not expect her to agree with everything he said. Still, each time he asked her opinion regarding a snow globe or metal trinket replicating some well-known local landmark, she smiled and nodded. If he placed a printed t-shirt or baseball cap in her hands, she smiled and nodded.

Toward the rear of the shop they stopped in front of a display of wooden figurines. Most of them depicted native people in traditional attire. The man and his new wife stared a long time at one particular figurine—a carved native woman wrapped in a native dress. Held in front of the wooden woman was a straw basket filled with local fruit. When he took it from the shelf the figurine's head shivered on its coil and began to bob, up and down, up and down.

He turned to face his wife, and when he saw her staring down at the new shoes he'd bought her, he replaced the carving back on the shelf.

"No," he said. "I don't like it either. Let's see if we can't find a keychain instead."

Robert Aquino Dollesin was still a kid when he left the Philippines. He now resides in Sacramento, where he manages to pen out a short story now and again. Among other venues his work can be found or is forthcoming in Storyglossia, Pequin, Dogzplot, DiddleDog and elimae.

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of ethanol 76.

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