I’m just about to get off from work after a very long, trying, hard day. I catch sight of someone who has the bad habit of ambushing
“familiar faces” and holding them hostage for the duration of their unwanted, unnecessary conversation and attention. With my luck, on the way out the door, I am inevitably,
and expectantly, stopped by the pest. Where is Terminex when you need them?! She hollers for me in a booming voice, from way across the other side of the
store, assaulting my ears not because of the volume of her voice, but because she makes it known to the world that she knows both me and my name. Nice way to add insult to
injury. So, she hustles my way, and I prepare myself as best I can, already tensing up, due to the impending confrontation! Life is sometimes spiteful, for
it seems every time you want to get something accomplished, and work at making it happen, something or someone comes long and deters you. Always. For it’s
all about “convenient” inconveniences.
As she is talking to me, my gaze lands everywhere but on her. It feels like I am suspended in a block of ice, watching everything, but not able to experience
it. I am suspended, life going on, and we both have literally stopped in the middle of the walkway, passing couples and small-unit families, edging past with quiet ‘” ‘scuse
me” s. She leans in close, and I can smell the poisonous mix of alcohol and garlic coming off her in huge waves. My nose begins crying, running as if on
cue. I look around as if a box of Kleenex will appear out of thin air, because isn’t it supposed to?
After a long period of empty “yes” es and “uh-huh” s, I nod my head to signal good-bye. She tries hanging on to whatever it is she thinks we have. What
it is, I couldn’t tell you, for it sure isn’t a connection! I try pulling away, her grip slipping, and she has no choice but to let go, disappointment flickering across her
face. For a moment I feel bad. But only for a moment. Then, I feel sorry for her, and that soon turns into acceptance -- me accepting the
fact that in life there are roles to play; some people are the “annoyed”, and some are the “annoyer”. Some people are tolerated because they have to be, and some people,
everyone dislikes…themselves included!! But, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, and that’s the way life goes. And I soon get on my way now, awkwardly waving
bye to her as she bids me farewell overzealously.
As I turn away and head for the border, I realize for the 1st time that I really don’t know her. She has only spoken to me on 2 occasions before, and that was
to say “hey” and “how are you doing today?” So much for carrying my mom’s lessons on into adulthood, that childhood adage: ‘don’t talk to strangers’ thrown right out the
window. It’s funny how if you share but one meaningless word with someone who happens to see you every other day, they feel they know you, like they changed your diaper when
you were a baby. You can call me rude, call me mean, or call me an enabler, but it is what it is. I think about that on my way out, and laugh quietly to
myself. At last!!
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