Thursday, June 21, 2012

once a beauty queen

"She was Miss Oklahoma 1952" her daughter told me. I went to visit her, determined that she'd be a good fit for the unit, and made the deal. After about four hours she warmed up to me and crooked her finger, calling me closer. She pulled a photograph out of her jacket pocket, an 8x10 black and white, folded and refolded until the print is quartered with cracks. She won't take off her jacket or her hat, keeps her arms folded across her chest. Says she's cold all the time. What she really is is ready. Ready to hit the road at the first opportunity and head for home. Only home isn't there anymore. All that's left is a bunch of junk in a small room, blankets and sweaters and teabags and one cup, nothing of value. Except this photograph. She calls me closer and I approach her cautiously. She has not allowed me this close to her yet. "Is this it?" I ask. She nods and unfolds the paper. I am looking at Marilyn Monroe, or may as well be. She is stunning, in a white Janzen bathing suit, a satin Oklahoma ribbon stretched across her once-perfect body. "Now I'm old," she said. "I see that face," I told her. "I can see you." And this is her treasure. She carries it with her, proof of perfection, and holds it out like a diamond in her palm after you've passed her test.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Grab me a kleenex. sniff sniff
someday I hope to be clutching my jethro tull concert t-shirt and a
map of the world with X's all over it.