Red Wagon

She pulled her little red wagon in the overcast afternoon chill, her thin coat pulled closely against her slender little bones.  The back wheel of her wagon was slightly bent, causing the tire to squeak and twist on its axis ever so slightly with each rotation.  *squeak* *squeak* *squeak* She trudged up the pavement, until at last she arrived at her destination.  Her tiny brow furrowed as she struggled with the sheet of paper against the pillar.  Worn sneakers on tippy-toes stretching tiny fingers as high as they could reach, fumbling with slick – sticking tape, fighting the corners for control until at last her poster was plastered to the pillar for all to see:

“Lost Dog”  

Curious onlookers inside the coffee shop peered over their steamy mugs through the frosty window frames, content to have a reprieve from an otherwise uneventful Tuesday afternoon.  

“Aww… isn’t that the saddest thing?” the patrons cooed.  The coffee shop was abuzz with tepid conversation, of collective pity of the little girl beyond the glass.  Outside, the forlorn little figure stepped back to admire her handiwork for a moment rubbing the heat back into her fingers, and then disappeared up the street– red wagon in tow.  *squeak* *squeak *squeak*

 

Weeks past and the poster tore.  Rained-soaked and wind swept until all that remained were tiny taped corner nubs.  The little girl returned, with her little red wagon with the slightly bent back wheel in tow.  *squeak* *squeak* *squeak* She stood on the tops of tippy-toes on the slick road with arms outstretched way beyond the enormous weight of her lost pet, plastering the pillar with her heart’s honest and earnest plea:


“Lost Dog”

“Aww… that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.”  An outspoken barista declared as she wiped her hands down her apron; murmurs of agreement echoed in ripples across the coffee shop.  They all sat watching through paned glass as the little girl collected herself and disappeared down the street.  Forgotten, the barista poured another cup of coffee.  

Weeks passed and the elements ran their slender icy slicing fingers through her poster, reducing it to ribbons to be rolled down the street in limp tumbling tubes.  The little red wagon with the slightly bent back wheel came rattling up the pavement.  *squeak* *squeak* *squeak* A tall figure stood in front of the coffee shop and with a drooping head and slumped shoulders.  Slender arms with skinnier fingers pressed the poster to the pillar.  Patrons inside craned their necks to get a glimpse:

“Missing Girl.”  

Sentimental Plates

Moving in together is weird.  Relationship semantics aside, just the physical act of combining two people’s things is a feat in and of itself.  I feel like George Carlin put it best:

Now the missus and I have been living together for almost five months now.  Her stuff and my stuff have happily melded together to become our stuff.  But because we took over her grandparents’ house, there’s also a lot of residual stuff left over from them too.   Some of it was useful: her grandfather had a massive collection of tools, most of them in great working condition.  Some of it was clearly old and meant to be disposed of: Like that 1970’s vacuum cleaner with the millions of broken attachments, or the lamp that was more rust than lamp.

But there was one thing that simply could not be touched– The plates.

Her grandmother had amassed quite the collection of plates of the years.  Serving platters from the nearby Chinese restaurant the family loved to frequent.  Dishes brought home all the way from Japan.  The little cat bowl grandma used to serve my girlfriend as a kid.  Each dish has its own unique history and story.

But I don’t know any of these stories.  All I know is I have a cabinet full of plates.  Some of them will blow up the microwave because they have gold flecks inlayed in the edges.  Some of them may contain lead.  None of them stack, because this mismatched menagerie of dishware is amassed from so many different sources.  So our cabinets are full of a Dr. Seuss-ian dystopian toppling towers of dishware.

Now I can’t get rid of any of the dishes.  But I can… disappear some of them.  I am taller than my girlfriend by about three inches and we have one particular shelf that is waaaay up there where where only cobwebs and a rogue cat hangs out.   And ever so slowly, week by week I hide a dish up there.

In a way, I’m preserving them.  Like the Monument’s Men saving priceless artwork from the clutches of evil Nazis, I am saving her grandparent’s dishes from the inevitability of gravity, chipped corners, and explosions… all of which I am prone.

So I’m a hero.  A hero of plates.  Until that day she cleans up there and finds them all again.  And I’m back to square one.  But boy can I dream.