Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Birthday Dream

I was walking down a city street, covered in regular small bungelow houses. The kind my grandparents had lived in. The street was vaguely reminiscent of the path I walked to school when I was young, but the homes were closer together and there were more shops interspersed and deposited on the corners.

I neared a shop front, pushing a large cart, covered in white. I wasn't homeless. I just always had a lot of things to carry around with me.

As I entered the store, the front was filled with brand new washers and dryers, all shiny and white. There were a few bikes that surrounded a wooden counter in the middle of the store. Surrounded by the wooden tables, was an old man. Thin, balding, with silver wire rim glasses. He looked nervous to see me.

But as I looked past him, I gasped. Behind him was an array of toys that made me yearn to touch them. They called out to me. I left my cart and walked to him. "What is this?" I asked in wonder.

He moved the counter just slightly, so only I could fit through and my cart had to be left behind.

As I moved through and was face to face with the toys, I was struck with memories. Shaky baby. A pale lavendar doll dress with white flocked dots. A stuffed dog.

I began to sob uncontrollably.

The old man was concerned and he put his hand on my elbow. I realized what a fool I was making of myself as he handed me a kleenex. I dabbed my face and thanked him. And told him how wonderful it was in his store. He just smiled.

I asked him if he had a lot of people who reacted this way to all the toys. He said, "No. Only you." He was the one that was surprised by my reaction! And I had assumed everyone would have the same, wonderful reaction of sweet memories and happy times.

I had stopped my sobbing and he wandered back to the center wooden tables. I continued on down the aisle that covered the back of the store wall from side to side, seeing so many dirty, grungy and fabulous toys that had held my heart at one time or another. There were games and gadgets, dishes. Oh, if they have the green kitchen set I will just loose it again, I thought to myself, knowing it was probably hiding there in the dim shadows but not knowing if I was ready to see it for real.

Finally, a younger woman came in. She seemed upset that I was looking at the toys and had gone passed the wooden counter area. She scolded the old man, but he whispered, "It's okay. She's remembering." It felt like he was just sitting in for a small bit while she went on a break or took lunch and she regretted having him do it for her.

He shuffled out and she continued to watch me and then I finally approached her, wanting to let her know that I was safe, ok, and I wouldn't hurt anything. We talked about swimming pools - floating green mylar strands that were put in pools on purpose to make them look pretty and festive.

I thanked her profusely for letting me see all the toys, hoping that I could come back some day.

And I woke up and wrote this all down. Happy 41st birthday to me yesterday.

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