Segment 14: The Man in the Truck

6 years ago
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Blog DirectoryChristmas was around the corner. I'd just finished hand-making the cut out sugar Christmas cookies with mom and now we were placing them onto a baking pan with tinfoil. Last week we'd had grandparents over from both sides of the family for Thanksgiving and Kathy and I had to sleep on the floor of the living room in sleeping bags in front of the entertainment center. Both nights it was hard to get to sleep since Grandpa Bower, on dad's side, liked to stay up until he fell asleep snoring to a silent game of some local school's football team that none of us knew anything about. I heard mom yelling from the bathroom where she was pulling up with pin curlers her hair and smoothing over her bangs till they curled over like the rest of it, highlighted blond in front of the mirror. She was telling me to start the car and to take the cookie sheets that we'd wrapped across the top with ceranwrap into the trunk where she'd already folded down the seats, laid out a plastic Christmas table cloth covered with blue and white pictures of ornaments over it, so the cookies wouldn't fall out and spill. We got to the church an hour early with Mr. Martin, our reverend trying out his Sunday speech on the pulpit for the organ tuner, who was now standing at the back giving signals. Mr. Martin, or Reverend Martin was trying so hard to project towards the the double doors where the pews started (he was new) and that seperated the cloister room from the parapet and outside columns. I leaned against the wall with one tennis shoe over the other and pretended to shout too with my hands cupped around my mouth, just to play with the organist and to see if I could shout and be heard all the way in the back: "Ahoy!" Outside the tree was losing its leaves, the wind was blowing hard and there was a racket against the panes. On the drive home after the fundraiser at the church my mother made a right turn towards the supermarket and parked next to a beautiful ivory car with the Cadillac symbol at the front of the car's iron silver grille. We passed a woman at the entrance to the store dressed up as Santa Claus wanting money for the Salvation Army and then my mom found some coins in her coin purse and without looking behind her passed them to my palm and asked me to go back and drop them in the bucket. When I came back out I saw J's mom coming around the side of the ivory car carrying empty brown grocery bags. I did an about-face and walked left slow like I was heading towards the laudromat to put coins in the machine, but I stopped and looked out the pane glass once I got in behind the 'Open 24 hours's sign. I held my breath for thirty seconds and then I walked back out slow, how I walked when I came in, and I walked through the store till I spotted her. I waited till we were both on the cracker aisle and I pretended to look at the front box of some graham crackers while I glanced over at his mom and her cart. I glimpsed spicy mustard, cereal, English muffins, tea boxes, and Brawny paper towels. When I looked up again, probably for the third time, she looked up at me too. She was about to same something, she pierced her pink lips and I bit mine and I wanted to say ''hi' but I heard my mother yelling my name somewhere. I said 'nice to see you' to his mom and ran out of the aisle to see where my name was being called from.