Thursday, March 23, 2006

silver lining

People watching has become a real hobby for me. I see people that stand out as well as those who really try to blend in. Anonymous or famous, I don’t care, but in my head I create stories about their lives, styles, circumstances or coincidences around them. This is the story about one of them. I have hundreds of these in my head and I might give you a story about a girl in a wig that I saw today later, but for now, you get the story of someone who just got a second chance. I have no idea how, but this is the first day of his new life.

It was finally his turn. He was wearing his brand new jeans, that felt weirdly stiff compared to the worn second hand sweatpants he’d been wearing the last few months. He felt sparkling, even though his old rag of a t-shirt still peeked out over the zipper of his jacket. The jacket, or as he saw it, the symbol of his success, was also brand new. The blue color wasn’t stained by beer or dust from some dirty park bench, and he intended to keep it so. He constantly glanced around him at the people in the store. He wondered what they thought of him. This was the first day in a very long time where he didn’t get those glances of pity or disgust. Only those who rested their eyes on him for more than a second got something of a questioning look in their faces. No, his metamorphosis was not yet complete. His hair was clean today, but not yet cut, and the cut could only be described as something that would suit Sasquatch. But that too was about to change. This morning he had actually made an appointement at a hair salon for the first time ever. As a child it was always his mother who cut his hair. And last time... He searched his memory. Last time was with his pocket knife over the sink in a public restroom. He pushed his cart in front of him. Shopping for groceries... This too was a very new experience. He had no idea what to buy, but he let his index finger run over the different brands of coffee, the many boxes of cookies. He lifted a carton of milk into his cart, but immediately seemed to regret his decision and put it back. Instead he reached for two huge bottles of juice. One with a mix of tropical flavors and one orange juice. This had to be a normal thing to get. He was just out to replennish his stock of juice in his plenty full refridgerator... or that is what he hoped the people around him would think. He had no refridgerator. He had no stock of juice. He didn’t even have a kitchen to put a refridgerator in. Yet. That was the next step in his new life: The apartment. The dream he had been feeding for over a decade now. The dream of a place to call his own.
He headed for the counters but stopped in front of a big freezer full of ice cream. What was that? M-a-r-sh-m-a-l-l-o-w-s... He’d never heard of such a thing, but he knew chocolate and caramel. And he knew this was a fancy brand of ice cream. He’d seen the commercials. And he could get it. He could buy ice cream that he didn’t need. He could buy luxury. Suddenly the ice cream was as tempting as a Ferrari would be to a millionaire, or so he thought. He just had to have it. He put the ice cream in the cart and smiled inwards.
This was definately one of the best days of his life! And its silver lining was two bottles of juice and a tub of ice cream.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Your story made me cry, Lisa. Whatever the true circumstances of the man you saw, I hope for the best for him. It's almost a shame he doesn't know he was observed with such sensitivity.