Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 – 12:54 am
Oh, I wish I wished I had remembered to remember the day, the day today. You would have liked it. It was inspirational. Or funny. Or dark. Or sad. Or fraught and fright, or manic and meaningful. Or whatever you may need it to, I’m told. And all tolled, I’ll tell you the total day, if love awakens again with dawn, I’ll say. I’ll try to tell you the real me, each one and each tired time they come back to play. Have you seen me free? Have you called out our names?
I teetered. Then I tottered. I must needs both in equal coffer throughout the day or risk collapse and anarchy, physical and social, so full, soulful, bitter and sweet. Today I teeter tottered with my dual cane action wobbly but stable cautionary tale and pale performance.
Have you seen it? It’s shitty, but shoot, you surely should.
Today, I staged one at several of local stores, including “Blue Shirt guys with overpriced shit we desperately need to celebrate baby Jesus” electronics store, as well as my local Fred Meyers, right here in Oregon City. Remember to shop local, guys.
It was here that I helped a desperate woman possibly commit her first felony today. Or so I hope.
I haven’t told anyone else yet and my website is as good a way to get away as any for all four of my poor friends and family, fauxs and foes to find out my full confession. I’ll face the fallout.
At approximately 2:15 this afternoon, my daughter Brittany dropped me off at the north curb with my two canes, sans walker soon to falter, as every other handicapped father in Oregon City had thought of my very same plan for Christmas shopping this year, which was to “wait four days before, like a damn doorknob.”
Since I am sick with a cold and suffering with conversion disorder, “weeble wobble teeter totter to the side”, said my daughter. I needed to scoot out of the way of the mad rush of battle wearied, able bodied consumers, lest I be stepped upon. Or worse, lest I and something scary inside try to punch a wormhole through one of them. Right through their head or their chest. Winning hearts and minds, one at a time. Or two or whatever or whoever or however many you can fit in a bag.
Anyway. My daughter, as I call her, caught her calling as short, shocked shot caller and told me to find a place to sit and stay out of harms way. So I did just that.
Until along *she* came.
I had already watched at least twenty people walk past me, just inside the theft sensors by the door closest to electronics. But this one was walking slower, like she had something to hide. She had a plastic bag hanging from each wrist above waist level like she was presenting it to all before her, a false offering of praise and proof and prophecy that, honestly I wanna see or wanna say, honesty is the best policy.
But apparently not for her.
As soon as she passed the sensor by the exit, the alarm went off. She was stunned, like she forgot to rip out all the tags of the merch she was jacking. Makes me sick. In our once fair city, one of the very first in Oregon. Let’s just name the first city after the State?
Just barely outside the front doors, the gift wrappers and alt-bell wringers and cookie hawkers looked unfazed by Bonnie sans Clyde and her daring heist. Frozen in the headlights by the unceasing alarm and lazy yet dirty looks of strange and charm, she started back inside with her still above waist high cache and guilty gob hanging agape.
Everybody else looked up, down, left, right, in, out and every which way but the highway at this person getting X-Man X-Mas presents the old fashioned way: shoplifting them.
We’ve all done it. Wait, what? Seriously? Some of you haven’t done it? Why? It’s… I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty awesome. Granted, I was only four years old when I started and a teen when I stopped, but gosh darn it, we are all the same age inside when it comes to good old fashioned larceny.
But this time, while everyone else was willing to look the other way, I was not. I’m no hero, but not today, lady. Not on your watch.
I stopped her cold.
“It’s okay, honey,” I started off, back in the real world with sometimes real people.
Dual cane mode activated, I had hobwobbled over to assist this cutest, easily ninety year old felon in the making.
She was by herself in the store today and she needed my help dammit, if she was going to stay out of jail. I had to save her Christmas and write a story about it!
“Are you sure it’s okay,” she asked, genuinely concerned at prison time. As she should.
Her white hair and blouse perfectly matched and as I got within a few feet of her, even one clueless cad as I could clearly capture that her getting greatly dolled up to buy her great granddaughter’s dolls was never a dull affair. It took hours of care on her face and hair and months of labor and years abroad and a broad that’s classy and a classic still.
She had never worn pajama bottoms to a store in her near centenarian tour and never will.
“Yes, its okay,” I assure her.
I can see I have calmed her fears a little. I am somewhat relieved, but also surprised at how quickly I assumed a position of power in a store not my own. It felt good, I won’t lie. I can’t and shan’t lie.
The authority I am wont to wield by simply speaking confidently to complete strangers is almost as intoxicating as shoplifting, plus you get to interact with people. I can see the appeal whence weak souls hence become con artists, embezzlers and someday something even vile and dishonest as kings.
But not me. I had long ago sworn to only use my capacities of charm and callous chaos for good and never for evil. Never again.
This wasn’t my store or my story, but with my virtual reality gravitas, she soon would truly think I knew the owner.
I tell her, “Don’t worry, hon. Those alarms just go off sometimes when they forget to take the tags off right. You don’t have to walk all the way back in. You look honest to me, you’re free to go.”
Her smile widened and beamed at me and she stopped and sincerely said thanks, both saints once sinners set free.
You could see that it had been a while since someone had warmed up to her smile. The sadness of holidays and loves and lovers lost can drag and pile and persist and pierce deep and deeper through any tradition or song. She carried the sadness like a heavy shield and bloody sword and solemn smile, worn and sworn to the end. You could see the pause in her eyes. A mere picture of a once real flame, once bright and all an entire world once held, but barely still alive.
Or so it seems, for those that think they can see such things. For those that think and sing, they have made a subtle but sturdy study of souls.
She hesitated for a solid second and I wished her a Merry Christmas.
As she leaned in, I saw an ornate and beautiful ring as well as a rose faced gold watch, one that her daughter and granddaughter would soon enough doff to strive and strain to still retain and remember all the times she laughed and loved and waited patiently for her husband to finally forget everything he knew, everything she knew, everything they knew.
Everything he knew, but his love for her.
And then he forgot that, too.
And it broke her heart forever.
“That is such a beautiful watch, sweetheart. The rose face is still so pretty,” I say like they are my last words to her.
I wish to fool myself a charmer and magician just long enough that she will believe with me. Isn’t this all a dream?
Her eyes ticked and a spark of rose hue hastened home to her golden year face. A slow but solid sadness slowly slipped and poured just slightly from her visage until years pealed and even more years peeled and disappeared away.
We are all the same age inside.
Especially in clear eyes.
She looked past my gray and white and black and blue and cold and heavy and focused on mine eyes and tried to discern mine age, whether close or far from her own. For mine eyes are young, but have seen the glory. But still a seeming parlor stunt for those who’ve never divined both sides of the divide.
“Oh, thank you. You’re so sweet. Merry Christmas to you, too,” were her last words to us.
She beeped the rest out and the rest was real history and real her story.
Mere mad and Merry moments more and mine own Brittany finally walked up to the door, pushing my walker before her. And down came the rain.
Dual cane mode deactivated. Walker mode engaged. Father face, front and forward.
“Did you stay out of trouble, like I told you?” my once and ever kindest and wisest daughter asked me.
“For the most part,” I pretended to the very end.