I do my grocery shopping early on Sunday mornings because humans gathered in an enclosed area lose their freakin’ minds. I’m usually there between 6:00 and 7:00 am, it varies. It’s not scheduled. But there’s a lady who shows up every time after I’ve walked in. It’s like seconds after I’ve grabbed a cart and the doors open and she’s right behind me getting a shopping cart. We don’t walk in together, I’ve never seen a car she could have gotten out of and this is Sunday morning when there’s very few cars in the parking lot. We never talk as we pass each each other several times in the aisles, in fact we rarely have looked at each other. What I have noticed is she always wears the same black uniform type outfit with a rust colored shirt under it. The same Aisics tennis shoes and every thing looks like she just bought it. She doesn’t have a smell or a sound, her skin is really light and pale but her hair is almost jet black to where it reflects blue in the lighting. When I go to check out there’s never a cashier with a register open so I have to use the self-scan area that I hate. Except today there’s a cashier I’ve never seen before who appears from between racks of shit at check-out #7 asking if I’m ready, so I jump on that service. As I’m watching these two dudes scan and bag the hell out of my stuff, behind me is this lady. She’s unloading her cart of a few items and oblivious to anything around her. I wanted to say hi to her, she was right there two feet away, which isn’t normal for me to do. After she put her last item on the conveyor her eyes locked onto her groceries. I looked back a few times before I left and noticed her eyes. There wasn’t any whites to them…
Tonight I’ll go?
I walk past my storage shed at least once a week. Today I notice this snake hanging off the latch. It’s pretty dried out like it’s been there a while. I’m curious how it got up that high and just died there.
When I got in after work yesterday it felt like someone was in my house. I could feel it but there wasn’t anyone. I sat in my chair, turned on the computer connected to my TV and flicked through YouTube videos. My recliner sits right next to the kitchen and twice I looked over thinking someone was in there. Explore With Us makes some good exploring videos of abandoned buildings out west. I was really getting into one of the video’s exploring mine tunnels when a spoon falls off the counter. Startled, I sat up and saw this one lone bubble from nowhere just hanging beside the refrigerator directly above the spoon that’s now on the floor. This time I had my phone and started recording. The bubble moved towards me when I got close. It just circled around the kitchen and slowly went down disappearing into the chair I was just sitting in.
After returning to work from spell of illness and injuries I noticed my friend Erma wasn’t sitting in the common area like she has every day for the last 5 years. Her name wasn’t really Erma, I just called her that by accident one day after mixing her name up with Herman. She was hard to get to know. She was like myself, not talkative but aware. Occasionally I would sit in the chair next to her and watch the world go by. She knew everyone’s routine, when they left, when they came back on what days they had appointments, who’s cab was who’s, etc. I even found myself asking her if she’d seen someone I was looking for. That was the extent of our conversations for a few years. Her facial expression never changed I noticed. Slowly we began to talk and she started opening up to me. Not a lot just basic things like her daughter and sister. One day I said something about myself, I did something foolish and she laughed. That was the funniest laugh I ever heard and one I felt I worked too hard to get. From then on I tried to make her laugh every day. It didn’t always work but it was worth the effort. The chairs we sat in were sliders, I didn’t like them because my phone would go under the wooden armrest and I’d get stuck in the chair. She got a kick out of that. Erma would slightly go back and forth and I would grab the back of the chair to stop it, her body moved forward but the chair didn’t. Once in a while she’d laugh at that, or I would bump her chair with a cart. Other times I would walk at her and hold something like I was about to hand it to her then pull it away and say, “SIKE”. This earned me the name “Joker”. Not “The Joker” or “A Joker”, just Joker like in Batman. And that was my name to her from then on. Then around last Christmas she was dressed in her winter coat. She sat there for several hours and when I finally had a chance I asked if she was cold and if I should turn the heat up. She said she missed her cab because she couldn’t stand up. I noticed she only had one arm in her coat also. Every morning I made it a point to see if she had her coat. I would linger around the common area and if a cab pulled up I’d ask if it was for her. I started helping her up and putting her coat on then walking her out the security doors where the cab drivers usually took over.
My last illness was pneumonia, which I thought was a cold (and it was too late to mention in my other post). When I returned to work Erma wasn’t sitting in her spot. Twice the first week I was back I saw her going into her room and the door shutting. After I thought about it, it wasn’t really her but the colors of her, like her white tennis shoes, blue pants and maroon walker. It wasn’t like her to stay in her room so I asked the busy bodies, who do nothing but squawk BS all day every day, if they said something to her. They said she had died the week before from pneumonia in the hospital. After working with the family to remove her belongings we started get her unit ready to put on the market. The painters came in, the maintenance was done and the cleaners did their job. I did a final walk through just to check on things. I found this card in the back of the kitchen drawer. R.I.P Erma.