Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

       It is in the unexpected or neglected
       place that you will find the lobster.
                  - Heard in Irish fishing village

I met the bag lady in a Manhattan automat.

She wore gloves with no fingers, a style popular today, and carried her clothes in two Macy's bags.

Her shoes, worn down on one side, exaggerated the way she walked--dipping from side to side.

I watched her take out a used teabag and dip it into hot water in someone's used cup. She counted out loud until the tea was brewed.

We met in the bathroom. She was washing out a pair of socks while I entered a stall.

When I washed my hands she said, " They call me whatever name comes to mind. I don't tell no one my name because you got to be careful." " You got a name?"

I said my first name.

" Don't you want to know my name? The one they named me when I was born? Maybe you think I don't got a real name, one I carried with me into school."

Just when I was about to ask her name she said, " You waited too long. Now I'm going to keep it secret."

When I left the bathroom I heard her say, "If you had asked I'd tell you."

Halfway back to the table I returned to the bathroom and asked her name.

" You think I'm just waiting around here doing nothing? I'm waiting for my daughter. She's got a good job and a house. She's taking me out to dinner. She meets me here every week and we go out to a sit down restaurant. My son can't come cause he lives too far, but he sends me presents."

She never did tell me her name.


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