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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Liberator

I found a web site that does free writer's workshops.  It isn't much about mechanics and grammar, though I'm guessing that it's mentioned.  It's more about getting in touch with your inner writer and putting ideas, thoughts, moods, whatever, into words.  The topic I chose was, "Yesterday she lost her ______________."  I chose first person.  Don't know why.  

This is a first and possibly last draft.  I was aware of the fact that this is something that has been written about before.  Maybe way too often.  But it's what came to mind.  I have not tried to go over it and figure out how to say it better.  I was curious if anyone else ever did these exercises.  

Anyhow, here it is.  I'm loosely naming it "Liberator."

Yesterday, I lost my identity. I mean, not WHO I was, exactly, just all of the things that make me recognizable to the world. My license, my social security card, my checks, credit cards, cell phone. I set my purse down beside the register in a restaurant and walked out without it. When I got in my car and realized I didn't have my keys, I went back inside. It was gone. Three minutes. Maybe two. And it was gone.

The restaurant manager offered to call the police, but I shook my head, no. I wasn't quite sure why.

"Let us call you a cab, then," he offered. He looked so sincere and concerned. His round face and balding head reminded me of my grandfather and I was touched by his desire to help.

"That won't be necessary," I said.

"Then how will you get home, Miss..."

"I'm Candy," I lied. "That's my name. I guess I'll walk."

I left the restaurant and began to walk down the street. Not toward my little town's shops and offices. Not toward my job or my home or my unpaid bills. Not toward my parents and their expectations. I walked in the opposite direction instead, past the park, the school, the town limits.

Looking back, I may have just been stunned by the abrupt violation one feels when personal possessions are stolen. I recall searching my mind, thinking I'd find indignation and anger, but if they were there, they were not coming out. At least not yet.

I walked for hours. It felt like hours. I came to a small gas station I've stopped at a hundred times, maybe more. It looked cool inside and I was beginning to feel a little hungry. But then, I had no money. Maybe I'd ask... maybe I'd just take something. Something had been taken from me, yes? And the taking wasn't so bad, really. Maybe taking isn't as bad as all that.

I went in the station, a dingy place with unswept floors, old cans of beans and wieners, packages of cheese crackers and crumpled bags of chips. The place smelled like a toilet. At least it was cool.

"Help you, miss?"

I turned to the cashier who was eyeing me suspiciously.

That's when I saw it. My purse. It was sitting behind the shelf, half concealed. I looked at the boy behind the cash register. He did not know me. He did not recognize me. Maybe he wasn't the one who stole it. Maybe it was someone else who worked here.

I pointed in the direction of my purse. "That's my..." I began. But I couldn't form the words. I didn't form the words. I wouldn't form the words.

"I guess not. I just need to use your restroom."

"Out back," he said and wagged his greasy head in the direction of the door.

"Good. Thanks." I stood there looking at him another moment. It was possible he was my liberator. It was possible I owed everything I had at that moment to this oily countenance. I turned to leave.

"Miss," he said. "You forgot your crackers."

"What?"

He pulled a package of crackers out from under the counter. "Your crackers," he said.

I took them. "Thanks."

"No problem. Take care of yourself."

I left the gas station and just kept walking.

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