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Today's the Day

Don Edgemon

 

When one looked toward Jowlynn it was never simply a pretty sight, the tasseled grey hair, the dirty torn rainbow layers of mismatched clothing, the battered shopping cart filled with her collected belongings.  “Today’s the day!” you could hear her shout as she squeaked along fighting the wobbling left front wheel of the cart.  “Today is the day for you sir, I love that blue neck suit!”
            Eddy felt the sunshine beaming hard against his face as he pumped his bike over the warmed city sidewalks.  He pulled the bike over the warmed city sidewalks.  He pulled the bike tightly around the corner onto 14th street, listened and watched for a gap between the traffic, then cut quickly across the street and came to a smooth stop at the second-hand comic book stand.  There were a couple of decent D.C.’s and a Fantastic Four #2 with only half a cover, but nothing to consider hidden treasure.  After buying a box of Hot Tamales candy and a bag of sunflower seeds, he pushed off on the bike and headed toward the baseball field.
            “Today’s the day!” Eddy heard Jowlynn say to him as he steered his bike along the sidewalk and around her metal cart.  He hit the brakes, and the bike came to a stop, his ball glove swinging back and forth from the handlebars where it hung.  He looked back to the old woman and asked, “Today is the day for what?”
            Jowlynn was pleased Eddy had stopped, and she smiled.  In spite of the teeth she had left being yesllow and crooked, they radiated like a beacon from a morbid toothpaste ad in contrast to her deeply blackened and weathered face.  “For your love, my boy, for your love,” she answered.
            “Today is the day for my love?” Eddy asked.
            Jowlynn quickly looked down and said, “That’s a beautiful blue bike you have.”  Eddy’s mind whirled over this information looking for a place to anchor.  The bike used to be yellow but the first of Summer he painted it flat black.  He glanced down at the frame of his bike to reassure his own sanity.  Although he was pleased to see the bike was still flat black, he somehow felt the uneasy need for a confirming opinion.
            Eddy looked into Jowlynn’s shopping cart.  It was filled with sacks of clothing, a blanket, some aluminum cans, a ball of string, a bottle of water and a single dirty boot.  As Eddy began to speak, Jowlynn sensed his question.  She raised a bony black hand and guided Eddy’s attention to a point above her head, “This is where I live,” she said, as she extended a finger and moved her hand in a circle through the air above her.  “I can go someplace anytime.”
            Eddy watched her hand going around, and his attention quickly slid as he thought about his own home and his room in the back of the house.  He loved his room.  He thought about his parents, and, though they were kind, he again felt a little uneasy, like maybe today was the day.  Suddenly, through his thoughts, he heard Jowlynn’s laughter and brought his attention back outside where he Jowlynn’s brown eyes had been fixed upon his.  She pushed back her big head and laughed again, “Why young man, you have all the power of a star!”  And with a heavy squeak, she began to push the wobbling cart on up the street.
            Eddy briefly watched Jowlynn as she slowly moved along the sidewalk away from him.  He looked up and felt the warm sunshine against his face and started once again for the ball field.  As he crossed the street he heard Jowlynn shout, “Today’s the day, my boy!”  Eddy looked back over his shoulder to see a large colorful woman standing with her shopping cart by the curb of the street waving to him as the passengers of the busy city passed between them car by car.
            At the ball field the guys celebrated in the dugout as Eddy slid into second having drilled his fourth consecutive double deep into the left field gap.  Six times his teammates had already scored in front of him.  He stood up and brushed the dirt from his pants as the cinnamon coating of a Hot Tamale slowly dissolved upon his tongue.  They had never beat this team before, but, Eddy thought, Today is the day.