People often ask her for directions — she has that kind of face.
The police never Look twice at her. The only traffic tickets she ever gets are the automatic ones with cameras.
Light blue eyes were part of it but hardly all.
Women she’d never met trusted her with holding the baby; men she barely knew divulged secrets.
As happens, once you get a reputation for trustworthiness, you are entrusted with more. She became the president of her company and was placed on boards and given awards and asked twice to be an executor –for a little known writer and for a pretty famous artist. (Not, notably, by her own mother: she was at the bottom of that chain.). She hadn’t wanted to accept either being the executor of the writer or joining the library board but couldn’t think of ways to decline gracefully.
More solicitations came. Usually she said Yes.
One day she felt tired of it all.
It was a crisis of exhaustion–the insides of her chest seemed to be falling toward each other. She had been feeling heavy and not just in her thickening waistline.
One day she was accompanying an elderly friend who needed to buy her granddaughter a graduation gift and had fixed on the gift of a good watch. Elizabeth wanted her advice and it would be more fun and then they’d have lunch.
They were in the jewelry section of an upscale department store and she had been modeling various watches for her friend, pulling back the sleeve of her black linen coat, employing both wrists and making jokes and comments. The salesperson was a nice Latino gay guy who concentrated on the elderly woman who was clearly the customer. She’d been wanting a nice black-faced watch for herself and at one point just let the sleeve fall back over her right wrist and over the nicest black-faced watch she had ever seen, very flat and extremely plain in silver.
She went on displaying watches on her left wrist, her watch-wearing wrist, and at last Elizabeth decided on a very handsome small expensive gold watch with a thin black alligator strap. All that time, she thought that she would not think of what she had at stake for that small thrill and was only conscious that her chest felt open and happy. And her scalp felt alive.
Elizabeth’s credit card came out and they walked to the door with their prizes, her friend’s in a very neat little red gift bag.
At the big glass doors stood two big black men with little curly wires snaking up from their suits to one ear. The fatter one swung his eyes over the two ladies. “Pardon me,” he said to her and stepped a small step their way.
(To be continued)