Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rizzo

Of course that’s not her real name. I don’t know it. I don’t even know where she lives, just that she passes my house every day around 2 pm in her pink trench coat. Betty Rizzo: leader of The Pink Ladies. Sassy. Confident. Slightly mysterious. Sarcastic and crass. She must be nearing 70 but her body is lean and her gait is assertive. Poised. She attacks the sidewalk with grace and purpose. She doesn’t seem to see anything around her, intent solely on her daily journey. I imagine she’s widowed - laid her childhood sweetheart to rest in our little cemetery beside the mayors office - but the pink coat scatters any aura of sadness. It’s hard to imagine a person steeped in misery when they wrap themselves in a colour synonymous with happiness. Twelve minutes later she’ll return, the same poise and confidence, the small paper sack sticking out of the top of her handbag telling of her journey down the gilded aisles of the main street liquor store. She is gung-ho for home, surely to reach it in time to apply fresh lipstick and pour the drinks into two perfect crystal glasses before her secret Kenickie arrives - obviously a dignified, silver fox who ravishes her with stories of the war and loves her slowly to save his heart. Part of me hopes for what I’ve created her to be - to swathe myself in the colour of a teenagers blush, to lose myself in a torrid affair, to be glamourous in my golden-girl years. We’ll see. I may never know her name but I count on her everyday wondering if I’ll ever spot that elusive “hickie from Kenickie.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tom

He frightens me. He has questionable boundaries. His Sunday-best is a powder-blue polyester suit hemmed too short and every other day, without fail, it’s a white t-shirt, untucked, and navy blue trousers. He only has one eye. I don’t mean he’s blind in one eye, I mean he only has ONE eye. The other is just a gaping socket with a back wall of blueish, transparent flesh. I wish he’d wear a patch. Then he could be Pirate Tom instead of Tom: The One-Eyed Man (With Questionable Boundaries). He’s nosy and presumptuous and smells like Campbells soup. He means well. I know this and I also know that the gaping hole in his face wishes me no harm (so weird, somehow, that it still blinks) but he seems to have decided that my business is his business and he is my personal body guard in some bizarro world scenario he’s created in his head and that freaks me out a little. He is to Batman what I am to Angelina. Right. Not even close. He times his walks so our paths cross. He stands at the end of my driveway watching me pushing the lawnmower, waiting until I’m done just to ask me if I think it might rain before nightfall. He’s always asking if I’ve heard about this kidnapping in Connecticut or that bludgening in Toronto. He says things like, “Daddy working this week?” Daddy being my husband. He has knocked on my kitchen window at 10 pm to ask if his son could move into our studio. “No, Tom, I don’t think that would be a good idea.” He’s old. He’s bored. He’s harmless. I’m petty. I’ll try to grow up.