Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wild Man

Today, Opal and I went shopping at Saver's. Tired, Opal was in full lounge-lizard mode in her stroller as we approached the cash register. She dished out inscrutable stares— part gangster, part holy man—to the passers-by. The man in front of us in line was loud-talking and wild, with eyes like an uneven level. He could've been homeless, certifiably crazy, hopped up on caffeine, cocaine or simply recently laid. It's so difficult to tell about someone from just a flicker. Regardless, his energy was mammoth and as he swung around his gaze locked with Opal's and he stopped dead in his tracks. She didn't flinch.

Dat girl be an anGEL! He said, looking up at me. I stepped to her side and put my hand on her head, a cautiously friendly barrier.
Say thanks, honey. I said. She didn't budge.

No. He said. For reeels. Dis girl is gone do some ANGEL work. Look at doze eyes. Look how she be CONNECTIN.'
I was growing to like this wild man pretty quick.

I just smiled at him and continued to comb the hair from Opal's eyes with my fingers. He was still looking right at her.
She lookin' at me like she KNOW me! Like she know me better den I know me!

I laughed and said she's been doing that for as long as she's been here. Looking at us like she sees something written on our faces, then we run to the mirror to see what she sees and find there is nothing there but what we always see.
Finally he looked up at me and said WHOA! She look just like you! She the SPITTIN' image! Then he reached into a torn khaki pocket to pay the lady. You really made the bank on dis one!

At that moment another cashier offered to help us in another lane, so we bid the wild man farewell and exited the moment. As we wheeled away, he hollered KEEP CONNECTIN'!! And I could hear him say wow as he collected his things and was on his way.

Opal reached for a raisin.

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