“SHIT!!!!” PP hears the curse, and then a giant THUD.
PP knows who the Curser is—Scraping Walker Woman. And the THUD must be her flailing and knocking something or falling and hurting something.
PP had made a resolution not long ago not to ask SSW if she needed ‘help.’ She can’t remember the details now of why she’d made this promise to herself. It musta had something to do with being made to feel stupid asking SSW if she needed help.
And so, today, her first impulse is to just ignore the curse and obvious (from the sound of it) injury. But yet….What if she really had hurt herself? And was lying over on the cold cement floor, 20 feet from PP, hidden by two rows of lockers, writhing in agony? Or passed out? Or bleeding to death? Or…..
PP pulls on her black pants and marches over to SSW’s domain.
She’s there, as PP had pictured, crumpled in a heap on the floor, struggling with putting on her own pants.
“Are you okay?” PP has to ask now. She’s there.
SSW turns, totters on the floor, manages a grimace in PP’s direction. “Yes, yes, I’m fine!”
“Okay, just checking. I heard you….”
“Oh that!” SSW chuckles. “I was just thinking about this Christmas card that my sister-in-law sent me and it had all this religious junk on it….you know Mary and the Baby Jesus and……”
She harrumphs. “My brother is not particularly religious, so I don’t think it was his idea to send the card, and then I started thinking that I shouldn’t be having this reaction to the Baby Jesus and Mary. That I’m a Bad Person. But then I thought, 'No, I am not a Bad Person.' What do you think? Oh I’m so sorry if I’ve offended you. You might be religious and….”
PP laughs as she heads over to the counter to start brushing out the tangles. “No you haven’t offended me.”
“Oh, that’s good. That’s a relief. Because some people you know would be offended and I wouldn’t want to offend them and this damn mark on my face I fell on the carpet the other day. Can you believe that falling on the carpet would do this?”
PP had noticed the large dramatic purplish reddish blotch on SSW’s face when she’d been in the pool and SSW had been doing her herky jerky water walking. It looks bad, but PP doesn’t say this now. Not wanting to offend SSW. Though frankly she thinks that offending her would be pretty hard.
“And when I fell, oh I was so mad.” SSW rarely waits for PP (or anyone else for that matter) to answer. “But Sam was home and just put some Vaseline on it and that reminded me how my father he was a physician and one time I think it was around the holidays actually I scalded myself something awful I don’t know how, but my father who was a physician, he just put some Vaseline on it and I remember I was little maybe only 7 or 8, and that it was very soothing. So when my husband did the same thing with this,” She points at the wound, shaking her head, disgusted, “well it was very soothing.”
“Yes, those old fashioned remedies are often the best,” PP agrees, trying to think of a way to get her to stop her Vaseline Monologue so she could turn on the hairdryer without being rude.
“….the other day I ran into a friend of mine who knew me before the surgery and he told me that I should have one of those little electric chairs and then I could just zoom around so much more better. And it made me so mad. That he would say that. The doctor who did the surgery, he said that I was healing just fine. That I should just keep doing what I’m doing. That it’d take time. But that Dan, this friend of mine or really he’s not someone that really knows me anymore. Obviously. He just made me so mad….”
PP finally just turns on the hairdryer. She had been actually encouraging the Anti- Jesus Story and as she was doing it, she knew that it was going to digress into something that she didn’t want to encourage and also that she wouldn’t be able to stop SSW cuz once she started in talking, she didn’t stop.
And even as PP begins drying her hair, she can still hear that SSW is talking. She just can’t make out the words anymore.
Does it matter? Does SSW find offense with PP’s Dryer Noise Deterrent?
She doesn’t seem to. The only thing that really seems to set her off is any mention of her differently-abled situation. Whether it was an offer of help or a suggestion of easier transport.
PP can hear this through the dryer noise and this time she just smiles. Thinks of Mary and the Baby Jesus, and starts to hum Away in the Manger, the image of Mary holding the Lord Our Saviour and the Three Kings of Orient Are vivid in her mind's eye as SSW's muffled drone goes on and on and on.....