The best part of the afternoon

Not the museums or churches, the square of statues clinging to their thin coats of watery sunlight. Instead, the unexpected tangle of markets: shacks offering brandy and pretzels, meats frying in alien spices, musicians gleaming in the park beyond the last stall. Beyond them, ice skaters riding the dusk, tracing fleeting tracks on a field holding its mirror to the sky.

Joe Caldwell