Short Visit


The old man sat at the table, suspiciously looking back and forth between his wife and the stranger. He was already unhappy at the interruption of his morning ritual drinking coffee on the front porch.

Scowling at the women, he pinched his thin lips together over surprisingly white dentures.

“What’s this all about? What is this going to cost me?”

He tapped his finger on the table, emphasizing the questions. His teeth were loose in his mouth making slapping noises when he spoke.

The stranger sitting across from the man shifted uncomfortably on her chair. Out of nervous habit, she glanced at the door and at the bag resting by her feet. Straight out the door and down two steps, she reviewed her escape plan mentally.

“I thought you knew I was coming,” the stranger stammered out wiping her sweaty palms on her pants.

The man reached for his cup of coffee. An oily layer formed at the top leaving question as to the amount of coffee-ground sludge that had settled to the bottom.

As the man wrapped his fingers around the cup handle, the stranger stared at his hand in a fascinated horror, the same as a passerby might stare at train wreck. The stranger was me and it was his fingernails that caught my attention. Quite simply, I could not pull my eyes away from his thick and yellow nails with jagged edges like a Japanese mountain range, peeling back from his skin.

Looking away would have been proof of self-control and social sophistication, but it was impossible.

#no apologies #IyamwhatIyam

Oliver Street: lost and found

o st

She met me at the door as soon as I lifted my fist to knock.

She had insisted on a home visit, claiming that she couldn’t hear on the phone yet she never asked me to repeat myself or speak up. I knew it was her as soon as her pinched little face appeared from inside of the darkened house. Somehow her eager loneliness, flowered turtle neck and perfect hearing gave her away.

A gust of wind rushed in and caught the curl of grey hair on her forehead, lifting it away from her wizened face. Suddenly, I thought of my own granny and that I owed her a thank you card from my birthday present.

We’ll call this little turtle neck wearing lady, “Notmygranny”, for no reason other than to encourage my thank you note writing.

“Come in, come in,” she said and ushered me into a shag carpeted living room.

With each home I enter, I say a prayer of protection to any high power that might be listening and inclined to show mercy. It goes something like, please don’t let this be where I die. I think there is some merit in keeping it short and simple – so as not to overload the existential request line.

I cautiously padded through the room and wondered if I had fallen into some type of alternative reality. On top of the brown shag, there were two small upholstered recliners from a period before the Big Mac and Whopper. Both of the chairs were filled with the oversized bottoms of her adult grandchildren.

The two stared ahead with matching dead eyes at a tv screen of static. It was completely without interest that they watched me follow their granny to the kitchen table to get help paying for medications. The movement only briefly caught their attention before they returned to watching their “show”.

“Notmygranny” and I spoke to a nice man named Oliver with the medication program only after we applied three times online for help. As it turned out, “Notmygranny” forgot her social security number and once she remembered that, she forgot her birthday. I began to wonder if we should involve her family in completing the application.

Then I remembered TweedleDee and TweedleDum in the next room so clearly unconcerned with the situation, and we continued with our work.

Once we finished up, I bid everyone in the household farewell and the Dud twins wordlessly raised their hands in a show of solidarity. I sped off in the wrong direction and found myself quickly lost on Oliver Street, of all the places to be lost in the entire world after meeting with a lady who was not my granny and talking to a man named Oliver.

After a full day of wrong turns and seemingly wasted time, I realized something and stopped rushing.

I was exactly where I needed to be.
Lost on Oliver Street.