Goodwill dancing

January 27, 2010

Carl poured coffee for himself and Audrey. “You need a new prescription?” he asked.

“No, why?” She held up a section of the newspaper toward the window, tilting her head at a strange angle for reading.

“Arms go to sleep?”

“No—look at this,” she said, motioning for him to see what she saw: the way the light was shining through the newsprint, a Swiss Army knife-type character printed on the front of the page could be seen next to the figurine of a ballerina printed on the back. “It’s like they’re dancing,” Audrey said. “And they don’t know each other. Look, they’re dancing in the corner of the room. Isn’t that cool?”

Photo by Pam Wells ©2010

“Huh,” Carl said.

“Do you think it was planned?”

“Unplanned,” he said. “The poor kid’ll have mommy’s tutu and daddy’s multi-function tool.” And with a strong flap of the Sports section he knocked his coffee mug off the table. He mopped up the broken mess, then sat down and opened his laptop.

“Now, this is cool,” he said.  He looked at her. “And that’s all going away.”

“What is?”

“Your newspaper. Your books.” He tapped on his computer screen which showed Apple’s hot, new digital reading device, the—

“I don’t think so,” Audrey said.

• • • • •

Audrey strolled down the aisles at Goodwill. She had found a 99-cent stoneware mug and couple of overpriced mysteries. She wandered down the mixed-use-plastic-wallpaper aisle, then rounded the corner where old calculators sat next to Mr. Coffees. There she saw what she didn’t know she had come for: a dusty, black case.

She set it on the floor—it was a heavy old thing—and jiggled the chrome latches. Inside was an ancient typewriter with round, black keys which had lost their spring, and no ribbon to spring against. How much did they want for this little gem, Audrey wondered. The price sticker was missing. She found a waxy white “X” on the back edge of the case: ten bucks.

Audrey put the little Smith-Corona in the middle of the kitchen table and topped it with apples. She propped her Wall Street Journal against it in the mornings and left notes tucked between the keys for Evan in the afternoons. And every so often, she would hold the thing in the air to blow out the dust.

©2010 Pam Wells


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