My writer-friend Juanita McGregor draws a lot of her inspiration from holidays, seasons, and observances. Almost any time the schools are closed, she delights my inbox with some toothy morsel: pithy or poignant, poetry or prose. I liked her Christmas vignette enough, I wanted to share it with all of you.
IN FOR THE LONG HAUL
By Juanita McGregor
Odors of used tissue and drying oils teased his nose as he opened the door. The once taut rope of the curtained alcove sagged under the weight of rusty black pants and a wrinkled red striped robe.
Father Time sat before the lighted mirror surrounded by make-up.
“Hi, Old Man.”
“What say ye, Christmas? Come on in. Have a seat.“
Pulling a chair from against the wall, he watched as Time’s practiced fingers filled the deep furrows on his face. Pancake once smoothed, powdered, and painted showed the man of March.
Sounds from the stage dribbled through the dingy corridors. Shortly the one-legged stage manager would knock and Father Time would enter stage left.
Makeup complete, Time pulled on jeans with steel cutting creases and a brown and gray plaid Ralph Lauren sweater.
“What’s in the house?”
“Dickens ‘Christmas Carol’, modern dress. The company’s hired 2015 to understudy. The kid’s dressing room is upstairs. Saw him standing in the wings yesterday. Just enough stubble on his chin; crisp, pale yellow shirt hanging out but his blazer’s cashmere and the shoes, high tops.”
Time walked through the memory: the new kid watching a tattered Marley burdened by frack or not, Ferguson, starvation, the Middle East, terrorism…
“Marley’s butt’s dragging and the kid smirked! Talk about condescension. I’ve seen his resume; you’d think that drama school…
Whoa! What am I talking about? See that photo taped to the mirror? That’s me. Starry eyed as fifteen and convinced my own broom would sweep clean.”
Time picked up his muffler.
” I’m only doing one gig, but you signed a long term contract. Any regrets?”
Looking at the light reflecting from the bottom of the nearly empty paint pots, Christmas felt his cell vibrate: see stage manager.
Hearing uneven footsteps, he grinned at the old man, jammed the phone in his pocket, and said, “Nope.”