She came silently through the door, and directly to the side of my desk. It was a little intrusive to my large personal space. I wondered why she didn’t stay at the counter like the rest of Joe Public. As she began her inquiry, I noticed that fleecy leopard print gloves covered her hands. I wondered if she had something she was trying to hide, a rash or fungus, as it was eighty degrees and humid outside. The warmth of gloves was definitely not needed. She asked for a Consent to Transfer – the form that the County Assessor must approve in order for funds of a deceased person to transfer to the beneficiary.
I arose from my desk to get the proper form from the counter, and upon doing so, realized this woman was wearing white cotton tights under her black knee length dress. Yes, I thought, she must have a skin disorder of some type.
She took my movement to the counter as a hint and took her position on the other side, as I had felt she should have in the first place. As I explained the form and what to do with it, I noticed a red mark on her forehead. It was in the shape of lips, and I smiled. It looked as if someone had kissed her forehead with lipstick on his or her lips.
“Did someone kiss you on the forehead?” I asked. She looked quizzically up at me.
“There is a red mark there in the shape of lips,” I explained.
Her eyes widened, then she asked me to say it again. Obediently, I repeated myself.
“Oh, I love that,” she stated. Then she grabbed a pen and on her paper filled with scratchings, she wrote down my exact words.
“Oh, thank you,” she smiled up at me, tilting her head to one side and staring directly into my eyes. “I love things like that.” She removed one fuzzy leopard glove, and I found myself checking her skin for obvious reasons for that extra layer, but her hands only showed the gnarling of time.
“So, did someone kiss you?” I persisted. I felt a bit uncomfortable in my persistence and wondered why she had not answered me in the first place. Did she not understand what I was talking about? Didn’t she know people like my sister, who love to plant their lipsticky lips on small children, tattooing the proof of their affection on the skin of another? I thought of the story of my cousin who had put on her lipstick, kissed her husband good-bye, then headed to the store to buy candy to take to her sisters’ poker night, and upon arrival was almost laughed out of her sister’s house. It must have been one heck of a kiss, because her lipstick was smeared all around her mouth. But most embarrassing to her was that she’d stopped in the store to chat with a couple of her mother’s church friends. What had they thought?
The woman smiled up at me and gently shook her head, “I’m a writer. I’m going to use that.”
“Oh, I write, too.” I offered back with caution guiding my mouth, slowing the words. How much did I really want to share with this woman?
We discussed our genres, and she explained that she gets scattered and “all over the place,” so she has to get centered.
She seemed pleased enough to have met me, but I was keeping my distance. Odd was a kind word for her. And history had shown me that I didn’t want to get close to or caught up in the romance of a friendship with an odd person. Although creative people were usually a bit odd – myself included. I asked where she was from, hoping to find some normalcy.
She told me how her family hailed from North Manchester, but she was born and raised on a small island off the coast of Maine, then lived inWashington DC, then she had moved to Boulder, Colorado, which at the time was just one dusty street.
I was intrigued for sure. I’d always dreamed of traveling to Colorado or Maine. I mean, of all the states in the United States, it seemed awfully coincidental that she’d brought up those two.
She thanked me for the information and the form, and I noticed the kiss mark on her forehead had disappeared. She headed out the door. I sat in wonder. Was she even real?
The day went lazily by without much activity. And just as I was about to wrap up my week, she appeared in my office again.
“Hello! I’m back!” She said in a sing-songy voice. “I’ve got the form!”
I arose from my desk, a bit startled by her reappearance. I stamped the form with the Assessor’s signature, then made her two copies.
As she headed out the door, she turned back to me and gushed, “Thank you for your blessings! The kiss and the forms,” and she turned and headed out the door.