You know, there's a ton of stories I don't tell. I think the world is a hard enough place without dwelling on the darkness of it. This is a story that I glimpsed, and it's rather caught my imagination. It probably shouldn't, but I wonder about it.
There is a man who comes in the store. He is a big guy, and he obviously has money. He carries himself as if he is an important man. He talks like a man who expects to be listened to. He's never been unpleasant, and he seems to know everyone he encounters. He stops and talks with them all.
The woman who is with him is much younger. She's not a child, don't get me wrong. Closing in on 40, probably. Her voice is rough and raspy. Her face shows signs of heavy tanning. She's not pretty, but she hasn't figured that out. The thing is, she dresses like a young girl, in short shorts, and form fitting things. She wears her hair in a top knot. Her behavior is almost manic. She cannot stop talking and clutching on to the old man. She is flirty and loud, and fidgets constantly, dancing around him as she speaks, talking about the meals she's going to cook for him, the honeys and the babys flowing fast and furious, a regular tidal wave of crooning endearments.
The man is expansive and generous with her. She eyeballed a high ticket appliance as she waited in line, and he bought it for her, immediately. Oh, she was excited then, and her face grew dramatic as she smacked her lips and gushed about all the special foods she was going to make for him. She interrupted herself to dance around clutching at her leg, moaning about her sciatica. She bent over, stretching her legs. The entire line watched, fascinated. She stood up, stretching languidly in front of the old man, promising him a jalapeno dish, promising him hot stuff.
The man's response was 'aw, that ain't nothing, baby'. He was spending big money. He was spending it because his baby wanted something. He was spending it because he could, and he wanted everyone in the store to know that he could. "You put a sold sign on that," he said to me in a loud but careless voice. "I'll send somebody by with a truck to pick it up.
And they walked out of the store, she pressed up tight against him.
Desperation has many faces, doesn't it?