Laurie Stone



I placed an ad on craigslist for silver spoons. A man called with an accent I could not place. His name was Ahmed. He was willing to travel. He had an air of mystery and could only come on weekends. When he sent texts, he would wish me a pleasant evening or apologize for writing late. One time he cancelled a meeting because his son was sick. I decided to meet him no matter what. As the date approached, I wished I had more things to offer. The weekend before I had bought jewelry at a flea market, and I brought those things down with me. He was outside, waiting in a light rain. We shook hands. I took him inside, and we sat in the lobby on a worn leather couch. He was small and thin, a man so slight his jacket and khaki trousers stood out from his body. His hair was long and blacker than any hair I had seen, a black you could swim in. I was reminded of Heathcliff as a child in Wuthering Heights, rescued from the streets of Liverpool and unfurled from the overcoat of Mr. Earnshaw. Near us in the lobby sat a woman in a wheelchair whose name I had not learned in thirty years. I pretended not to see her craning her neck at the suede pouches I handed to Ahmed. He wanted four tiny silver salt shakers, a silver fork for spearing condiments, a silver spoon for salt, and a pearl necklace with a silver clasp containing a diamond chip or something shiny. His fingernails were clubbed and looked like curved moons at the ends of small mallets. I asked what he would do with the things he was buying. He said, "I like collecting," and I left it at that. I charged him a small amount, wanting him to feel no obligation to me, although who can read the thoughts of a stranger, and it had lately dawned on me that sometimes when I believed I had charmed a person they might have felt sorry for me and acted out of kindness. I wrapped the items in tissue paper, and we lingered on the couch, enjoying our good manners. Before he left, I felt an impulse to kiss him.





I consider "craigslist" a piece of autofiction, based on a personal experience but not on the details of actual memory. It is part of my next book, The Love of Strangers, a Collage.