The lady had taken off her cap and snood, had thrown a grey knit stole around her shoulders. She slid into the booth opposite me, had a coffee for herself. “Name’s Maizie, as you know. What’s yours?”
“Don,” I said. My name is Don.”
“Well,” laughed Maizie, “that should be easy to remember. Is it short for Donald?”
“No, it is just plain Don. Mother said Dad took one look at me at birth, scarlet, scrawny, and screaming. ‘You’ve got to be putting me on,’ he said. ‘Don. It’s Don.’ And I have been Don ever since.”
“Well. any man digging around in his own mind, looking for a story is surely entitled to it if he finds it. Here it is.”
Maizie lit a GPC, snapped her lighter shut, dropped it in her purse. “You don’t mind if I smoke?” Actually, I do mind. It is, after all, my mind, but I just nod my head to indicate that she should continue with her tale.
"I was born in Gautier, Miss’ippi like I say, fifty-nine years ago. Daddy worked in the shipyards, good provider he was. Had no siblings and Mama doted on me. Anything I wanted was mine for the asking. Grew up thinkin’ I was a princess, I guess. Went to Ole Miss when I was seventeen. That’s up to Oxford, you know. Was gonna be a librarian, always loved books. So I met this Wilfred up there, an’ he convinced me he thought I made the sun come up in the morning. Wouldn’t do but that I be his wife, so I dropped out of school, married him. An’ start poppin’ out kids, one a year for four years. Put up a new calendar, have another kid. Three girls and a boy.
"Well, Will, I always called him Will, was good to us, handed me his paycheck every week, and never missed a day’s work. But Will had a wild hair. I knew this, but he remained steady, always headed to work in the morning, came home at night, turned over the paycheck. The first two girls graduated high school, got married. The third girl and Will, Jr graduated together since they were Irish twins less than a year apart and in the same class. Commencement ceremony over, party at our house to celebrate. Their Daddy came in, hugged each one of them, told them he loves them dearly. Turned to me and said, 'Thank you, Ma’am. You did good, gave me four wonderful children.' And he walked out the door, took nothing but the clothes he wore, and I’ve not seen him nor heard from him to this day.
"So there I am. Forty years old, no job, no income, savings enough to last a couple weeks, and a boy that wanted to go to college. And me in coastal Miss’ippi.
“Now not being rude, but you’ll have to excuse me now. I need to get on home. This bunion is killing me.”.
“But, but. . .” I stammered. “What on earth happened to you?”
“Well, Silly Don. Here I am. What you see is what you get.”
“No more story, then?”
“Unless you show up in the same corner of your mind next Tuesday evening. ‘Night now!”
©2015 David W. Lacy
©2015 David W. Lacy