Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"The Rodeo"

That woman you think looks like she’s been to the rodeo. The one who gives you a free cookie for visiting her in the grocery store bakery, but who has moved up to Checkout for who knows why. The one with salt and pepper roots and orangey blonde ends, with a leathery face and watery grey blue eyes. The one who’s sparkling smile defies her tired face. She has been to the rodeo. Figuratively speaking, of course.

She was strangled when she was 20. She was coming off a night shift and getting into her delivery van. Her attacker came up behind her. The details are fuzzy, but she remembers him wrapping his bony hands around her neck and squeezing. She tried to fight him off, but she lost consciousness. When she came-to, she was spilling out of the open door of her van. There was blood on her shirt. The details are fuzzy, but she’s sure that tai chi saved her. She religiously practiced tai chi and yoga in those days. Most people wouldn’t have survived, but she was tough. They caught the guy two and a half years later. He had strangled others. To death.

The woman tells you this as you are buying items with which to make your sick husband soup. She tells you “People have been crabby today.” To that you respond, “There’s no since in making life crappier than it already is.” You didn’t mean to sound like such a cynic, but figure the sentiment is the same. That’s when she tells you the story of being strangled. Her voice is muffled but burly. She sounds like she has a frog in her throat but she doesn’t try to clear it. It is hard to hear her. The details are fuzzy.

You say, “Bless You” just as your mom might have. It seems appropriate and you’ve decided its okay to say that even though you’re not terribly religious. She shrugs it off and mumbles something to the effect that its not a big deal, she’s alive. The lady behind you, buying the Lean Cuisines and Perrier is looking impatient so you bid her farewell.

“I’m glad you’re alive. Have a good day.”

1 comment:

Mulberry Panda 96 said...

I like this. Based on a true story?