I had dreams once. I found myself repeating this while folding some tees. I was working in a chain retail store on Front Street, primarily selling Tees that tourist and some locals would buy for souvenirs. The the store was bursting at its seems as cruise ship passengers unloads from Lahaina Harbor. Across the Banyan tree filled with local artist is the mall area where I worked. It was target numero uno for most passengers, which meant our little shop is going to burst. Tourist trying to haggle and me and my Manager trying to put on a brave face and stand our ground. She as a petite woman in her late 40s, she was a local firecracker but the sweetest woman ever. During the mayhem all I remember is watching above the crowd as her sun bleached blonde hair twist left and right. Her customer service skills were going into overdrive, and mine were too. I was waiting and manning the only fitting room we had in our tiny store and helping this cruiser try on tees as I assist as many customers I can and giving recommendations. Most of the time it felt like I was a concierge at the amount of questions they had asked me.
After a few hours the store became less crowded and I felt myself finally breath. I gave a distressed wide-eyed look to my manager and she laughed as she was ringing up a customer. Before the rush started I had my notebook for english class out while I brainstormed what to write for one of my essays. In this same little black notebook I wrote my poetry and little short stories I had during work. I was finishing up additions to an essay I was writing about my Father and his features and how they changed through time. I was deep in thought before my manager nudged me and I say a family walk in and look around. I had a little panic and just closed the book and left it on the counter, not expecting anyone to look in it since I hid it behind a basket that was also on the counter.
I approached them with the usual smile and verbage as they looked around. I gave them suggestions and information about the company. I was having a pleasant conversation with the family as the eldest gentleman in the group came up to me and said I had a good way with words. A little confused at first, he must mean how I spoke about the company so I thanked him. He then proceeded to ask me MORE questions. The old man asked about my life and passions, the store was slow and the man was almost like my grandpa so I told him. I was currently attending school full-time and work full-time. I had no personal time to enjoy in any extracurricular activities that the man suggested I was into. I told him I would go to the beach and swim on my days off, play with my DS or go overnight fishing. He told me with my way with words why not do anything else with it. I did confess I love to write but it is not a priority at this time so I did not do it much. After that the man fell silent, honestly I felt like I did something wrong. I became occupied with another customer before I could ask him if I said something wrong.
Next thing I know he and his family are heading out the door and then I notice something funny in the old man’s right hand. Through out the store we have pray bottles to demonstrate that some of the water apparel we sold has designs when they get wet. I quickly walk over and playfully tell the man to ‘drop it’ and that ‘it wasn’t his’. His grandkids (I think) started laughing and he too was, then out of nowhere he spun around and sprayed water in my face!
I was shocked at first and then laughed so hard I couldn’t speak. My manager didn’t know what to do, all I heard her keep saying was ‘oh my goodness’ and ‘stop playing with that’. He walked over and it was the first time I realized he used a cane. The old man wobbled towards me and gave me the spray bottle.
“Be. True. To. You.”
He enunciated every single world clearly and then patted me head and walked out the door. At that same moment I saw it, a little black notebook sticking out of his pocket with a blue pen clipped onto his pocket too. I turned around back to the counter I was standing behind and my notebook was opened the decorative basket was pushed three feet away from it. I walked up to the notebook and saw one of my verbal vomit pages, it’s a page I use when I hit a writer’s block, I write everything that is in my head to clear it. Then I saw it, circled with blue ink, it stuck out to me the most since I only use black pens. That damn sneaky old man. That old man circled it. I felt a genuine smile form on my face and I read the sentence to myself.
“The things that we cherish the most are the things we think we can live without.”