Cherry legs and lipstick

January 19, 2010

Carl drove into the small lot off Portland’s Northeast 6th Avenue. Audrey touched up her lipstick in the passenger mirror as he parked. She recognized the look he’d always give her when they camped, the one that said, “Bears don’t care if you’re wearing makeup.”

He didn’t get ten feet inside the woodworking store before he stopped. “Look at this,” he said, admiring a fine table saw. He swept his fingers across the cold stone surface.

Photo by Pam Wells © 2010

“Granite countertops on a saw?” she asked. “Is it gourmet?”

“Oh, yeah.”

Audrey wandered through the aisles of exotic species. Bolivian rosewood, Gaboon ebony, myrtlewood from northern California. How-to books detailed every kind of project. Was this tree hell, winding up as a bookend? A duck? Or worse—How to Take It With You, she read on a book cover—an urn? A woodworker turns his own urn. Now, that was something.

This is why she liked going to the wood store. Things existed here, things like cypress knees and cherry legs, that didn’t exist anywhere else in her world.

“Help you find anything?” an older gentleman asked. He wore a green store apron.

She smiled. “No, but if I were a table, I’d want legs like that.” She went to find Carl, unaware that the man’s gaze followed her.

Carl was mulling over a set of router bits inside a glass counter. On the other side of the counter was a young woman in a green apron and black bike shorts. Her hair was striped like zebrawood, black and tan, and she wore little sterling saw blades in her ears. She tapped the glass with a red fingernail as if to say this router bit is the better choice, if you know anything about router bits.

Audrey didn’t know much about router bits, but she knew it was time to go.

© 2010 Pam Wells


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