Do you ever see "that" someone coming toward you that makes you want to don your invisible cloak? Well, in this case, I saw her walking toward me, decked out in her white leather like jacket, matching peach blouse, peach mask, and peach colored head band. But not having a place to hide or Harry Potter's magic cloak, I knew I was dead in the water. Panic almost ensued when I realized that we were in the check out line together. I was doomed to be a captive audience.
The lady I am speaking of shops in the same grocery store I do. Now, why I am so lucky to be blessed to run into her - often, Lord only knows? Perhaps this is comeuppance by the gods for that night in 1976 when we stole Miss Ella's garden gnome. But I digress. (How did we know it was the last gift from her dear late Herman?)
I knew before she approached there would be details about her death (and resurrection), she would explain in adnauseam how she was doomed by bad genes. There would be the recounting of how she gave all her things to Goodwill, thinking she was moving to Florida, only to learn the following week that was not the case. (I dared not ask why.) Speaking of Florida, there would be a monologue about the pretty pink carpet she had in the bedroom in her Florida house (40 years ago). And, how the aqua and pink custom drapes matched the carpet and made the room "perfect".
She approached and her eyes lit up. "Well, hello. I think I saw you here a week or so ago."
Before I could comment, she started, "You know they have wonderful fresh vegetables here. And since I had my heart attack, I try to eat healthy foods". She rattled on, "You know I was doomed by genes. My sister died 6 months before I did."
She smiled, "You know I died - twice." I nodded (carefully, not wanting to encourage anything.) She continued, "The doctors said it was a miracle I came through it."
She picked up a cloth napkin she had found on the 'aisle of random stuff' in the store and showed it to me. The pink and aqua Lily Pulitzer pattern gave me a foreboding of what was to come. I was not to be disappointed.
"You know, when I lived in Florida I had the most elegant bedroom with pink carpet and these pink and aqua drapes . . ." This is where the confliction of my southern upbringing came in. I smiled just enough to let her know I was listening but not enough to encourage anything. There is the southern guilt that I should be politely paying more attention to her. After all she had been through, her death (and resurrection), and given her age, my Aunt Kat would remind me to respect my elders.
However, on my other shoulder was my dark psyche asking me why the Hell I didn't run fast and far away when I saw her.
Just as I thought my ordeal was over, she turned back to me. "I just cannot find that same perfect pink colored carpet. You know since I gave all my belongings to Good Will. I planned to move to Florida, but that didn't work out."
I was saved by the cashier asking, "Mam, are you paying with card or cash?"
Then the cashier made the fatal mistake of commenting about the napkin, "What a lovely pattern. I just love pink and aqua."
With this I looked at my phone to check my email. Perhaps, if I looked busy, and fate was on my side, this nightmare would pass and I could safely resume my life. Mentally, I could picture the pink carpet and the aqua and pink drapes. I wondered what happened with the aborted move to Florida? But, not enough to ask.