Happy Trails

“Let’s go to the thrift store,” Tracy suggested, a twinkle in her eye.

Adam nodded. “That sounds like a good idea.”

Socked and shoed and smartphones in hand, Adam locked their apartment door behind them as they set out on their daily adventure.

“What goodies do you think we’ll find?” Tracy asked. “We haven’t been in weeks. I hope they have some books I’d like, and maybe a pair of shoes for you.”

Adam nodded. “Don’t spend our pennies just yet, hon. My shoes are still perfectly good.”

They joined hands and moseyed down the block. The thrift store was just around the corner, three streets down. Tracy dodged a freshly spit chunk of gum, and Adam had a near miss with a wad of chewing tobacco, but they made it to their destination unscathed.

But dismayed.

“Out of business?” they exclaimed in unison, reading the sign taped to the door.

“That’s so sad,” said Tracy. “I loved this place. We both did!”

“I know,” Adam agreed. “But it happens. Let’s keep walking and see where we end up. Maybe grab a bite to eat or something. We’ll find another store.”

They walked together another two blocks, and Tracy was still shaking her head at the store going out of business.

“Look!” Adam pointed across the street.

Tracy immediately brightened. It wasn’t the same store, but she could see the same old lady behind the cash register. They looked both ways and crossed to admire Adam’s discovery.

He pushed the door, and the bell tinkled brightly to announce their entry.

“Mrs. Watson, I’m so glad to see you!” Tracy greeted the older woman warmly. “What happened?”

Mrs. Watson shook her head sadly. “It just wasn’t paying the bills, honey,” she answered. “I was at least able to sell most of my inventory and move in with my son, and then I saw this store was looking for help. I offered them a good deal on what I had left, and they hired me on to keep the shop during the day.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear it worked out, for the most part,” offered Adam.

“Thank you, honey,” Mrs. Watson answered. “You two have a look around. There’s lots that I’ve never seen before here. And you know I’ve seen a lot!” She chuckled.

The pair began to peruse the ancient bookshelves lining the walls of the store, Adam checking out the knick knacks and mismatched china sets while Tracy lovingly ran her fingers along the spines of the books lined up on display.

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Suddenly Tracy paused with a gasp. Slowly she reached up and pulled one volume off the shelf right in front of her eyes. She stared down at it for a moment, simply feeling the realness of the cover. Adam glanced over and saw that she had something in her hands, so he joined her.

“What did you find?” he asked.

“It’s–it’s my favorite book. I don’t even remember how many times I read this when I was a kid. I haven’t seen it anywhere in years, and it’s been out of print forever. My grandmother gave it to me, and–” Tracy’s jaw dropped. She had opened the cover and frozen.

Adam watched her closely. “Well, what is it?”

A smile spread across Tracy’s ace as she turned the book so he could see. “It’s my book.”

And sure enough, Adam read the inscription, written in a spidery, faint hand: To my favorite granddaughter Tracy, on her fifth birthday. I love you, Grandma. He wiped away Tracy’s tear with his thumb and led her to Mrs. Watson’s cash register.

“I can’t take money for your own things, honey,” said Mrs. Watson.

As Tracy was still speechless, Adam thanked her and then guided his girlfriend home. She never loosened her grip on the book, or lessened her smile.

 


April, Born in May

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

When I saw this I realized that I don’t know why my parents named me April. There aren’t any Aprils in my family. 

Maybe they just liked the sound of it. 

Is it odd that I still don’t know the answer to this, and my mother lives with us? Normally, I’d agree, but she’s having surgery tomorrow, and we haven’t seen much of her today due to prep of the, ahem, cleansing variety. 

I should ask her tomorrow afternoon; a morphine-hazed answer would be vastly entertaining. She’s great fun on drugs. It’s like talking to someone while they’re sleeping, only better, because the hits just keep on coming. Once she was exceedingly proud of herself because she got to wear the T-shirt at a Goodyear parade. 

I wonder what she would say. 

But I have thought about changing my name. I believe if I had the opportunity, I would go with my middle name, Inez. I know the origin of that one: my paternal grandmother. Even though I kept my maiden name as my middle–ooh, that is a whole ‘nother controversial post, isn’t it–it feels like a betrayal to have dropped it.

April doesn’t belong to anyone; it isn’t a legacy with which I was entrusted. 

Sometimes it feels like a placeholder. 

Others, it feels likes condensation of, well, me. So much of one’s identity is tied up in one’s name, isn’t it?