by Nancy Scott
It is the typical Friday night for the Walking Wounded. We have gathered in the building lobby by 6:45 p.m.
A former tenant, but still charter Walking Wounded member, brings Millie to visit. We love Millie because there is nothing wounded about her. She is a one-year-old Yorkshire terrier. She loves us all with body-wagging and whining till we sit to be leapt upon and kissed.
The talk is food (including doggy pepperoni) and politics. People poke rent checks through the office mail-slot and push grocery carts to the elevator. Several stop to pet Millie.
Doris is feeding two teen-age grandchildren this weekend. “I bought everything to make barbecue but I forgot the hamburger. Can you believe it?” Mid gleefully comments, “You could probably get by forgetting anything else–somebody would have what you forgot. But you forgot the main ingredient.”
Tonight, I’m thinking there must be more to life than being lobby fixture. Once Millie calms down for the sensible nap on the floor, I’m predicting things will get argumentative or boring. But into our midst comes Pat. Her mail includes a package and we all perk up, rather desperately. We ask almost in unison, “What could it be?”
“Pig socks,” she says.
That stops us cold. Pat knew it would. She opens the package for us to see. We know she collects all things with pigs. But socks? Debbie narrates, for my benefit, thin socks, thick socks, white socks, black socks, embroidered and glittered socks. Front ends of pigs, back ends of pigs, and one pink pig with wings.
I touch the different socks and Pat comments on how Debbie folds them, matching the heels and putting her least favorite pair on top, saying, “Just find me so I can see what you wear with those blue ones.” Nadia, our security guard, checks a pair in Debbie’s pile, saying, “That pig has cute face.” Mid takes off his cowboy hat and taps his prosthetic foot with impatience. Anne holds Millie’s leash and contributes, “You could wear sandals with the thin socks. That would show off the pigs.”
Does Pat have a “pigs flying” dream? I think, but do not say, that we collect the things that strengthen our mythologies.
Pat mentions that she’s bought pig socks before, but they’re hard to find. “It’s been about four years.” She tells us she bought so many pig socks that she got free shipping. I suggest that she might not want to brag about that particular achievement. We laugh and she collects footwear to head for the seventh floor.
As the elevator moans upward, I check my Braille watch. “Time to go.” I unfold my white cane. We stretch and unstiffen. Debbie and I take the next elevator after goodnights all around. Mid stays to wait for Betsy, quizzing Nadia with, “When did she say she’d be home?” and “Was she getting her hair done today?” Mid likes Betsy. He’s been asking us whether he should give her flowers, or jewelry.
From social connections to main ingredients to flying pigs. However we collect and express them, dreams are a wonderful thing.
Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is a blind essayist and poet. Her over 600 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries. An essayist and poet, she has published three chapbooks. She won First Prize in the 2009 International Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Recent work appears in Breath and Shadow, Contemporary Haibun Online, and Stone Voices.