I am a transient New Yorker (always in that New York state of mind) living in glorious southern California. I am currently working at a private K-12 school where I teach theatre outside of the box and am the Artistic Director.
It was the kind of book store everyone imagines when they think of an Independent book seller. The same kind of quaint mom and pop feeling in You've Got Mail but bigger. Shelves handcrafted by the local carpenter holding the sectioned books in categories and alphabetized by title in some areas then switching to author in others; vintage tables with curvy carved legs holding stacks and stacks of coffee table books and bestsellers and featured items or remainders. The second floor was filled with soft leather couches and comfy chairs inviting you to not just linger....but read.
Moo Cow Henry
They say as we age we don’t leave our younger selves behind, but that the selves that we were just have layers of years and experience added to the mix. So when the 60 something women I knew in my 20’s said, ‘you know I don’t feel 60- I still feel like I’m 20 inside’' they meant the 20 year old still lives on just in an older body and with a little more wisdom. I recall politely validating their observation nodding in agreement, yet callously thinking they should look in a mirror.
Frozen in Time
I thought I saw you the other day. Your long golden red hair down over your shoulders as you were led through the street by a dog on a leash. I loved the color of your hair, especially when it was set free from that messy bun as you called it atop your head. But you were walking a dog, that should've been my first clue. You said no more dogs-ever. I remember hearing you say that right after the accident.
JENNA The screeching tea kettle punctuated the morning sounds of dogs barking, phones ringing, bathroom battles, and toddler tears. Jenna mom-handled it by simultaneously catching falling cereal bowls, routing her cell phone talking husband to the den, and shouting orders to takes turns in the bathroom. In minutes they would all be gone for the day and she would get ready for work quickly with lipstick, dry shampoo, and deodorant- promising herself she would shower tomorrow for sure.
When we first met I believe it was a Monday in April or maybe May. Mondays were shopping and restocking days for me. Springtime in the Hamptons is beautiful, the empty trees sprouting a green bud here or there, as if checking the weather out for the rest, then bursting into lush greens. Colorful flowers at their feet-barren when you went to bed, and seemingly out overnight in all their glory. Fact is, the working class Hamptons were all so busy readying their businesses and properties for the rich and famous who would descend upon this quiet and inviting hamlet come Memorial Day , that they missed the Winter to Spring transformation entirely. For 3 pushing 4 months the wealthy 2% would use this island as their playground for parties, beaching, shopping and more. We would all cater to their every need, whether we landscaped their yards, bought or cooked their groceries, cleaned their houses, drove them around in our rented town cars or as Maura and I did, became their retail servants. We filled our stores with whatever was trending in the vintage world. We scoured yard sales, other stores in nearby towns, made house calls and even upcycled items from the town dump then sold them to our summer clientele for much more than we paid.
Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String.....
Nine year old Etta's full name was Henrietta, and she wasn't particularly fond of it. It was much too long and had a boys name at the start of it. That was their first conversation a couple of years ago when the family moved in next door. "My name has the same thing at the beginning...a boys name. My name is Harriet," I told her. She had never met anyone with a name like hers and we decided to be very good friends in spite of our almost 60 year age difference . Besides, I was still young at heart and she was a very old soul.
I found my high school yearbooks online the other day and began perusing as I hadn't seen them for years. I found pictures of myself I don't remember seeing before, or maybe I just saw them differently this time. I'm sure at the time I was just aware of a bad hair day or my blouse puckering where it shouldn't. This time I saw a young girl with shining eyes at 14 , looking a little lost at 15 and at 16 completely deadpan face with no light in her eyes. There had been …issues at home. Did anyone see it at the time?
Jack was more on edge tonight than usual. He paced back and forth over the same 6 squares of the linoleum floor of the tiny meeting room . Then suddenly he would dart about in another direction. His speech patterns followed his movements first to the edge of the table , then back to his chair and cross to the window placed much too high for viewing. He began a thought then another would enter as he changed positions, his movement batting thoughts away that were trying to escape through his mouth.