Monday, October 01, 2007

Gifts


One evening we found ourselves in the same neighborhood bar, Evelyn, Tito and I. Tito told me it had been her arm in the open window at the Skyline office.

Evelyn didn't know about this blog. But she wanted me to know about her. And so she began.

Almost twenty years ago, in another epoch, she worked at home, the mother of three children. She lived on public assistance. She had never worked for anyone else. Her older sister Mercedes was the one with a job. Mercedes worked at Skyline .

I always wonder: why does change happen when it happens? One day Evelyn told her sister she'd had enough. She was sick of being on public assistance. She wanted to turn her life around. She wanted a job.

Mercedes found her a job at Skyline. It must have been difficult in the beginning. Evelyn had so much catching up to do. She'd never worked in an office. There were phones and computers to learn. She had to see to all the impatient personalities who passed through, fetching what they needed when they needed it. Her day didn't end at Skyline. Each night she had her children to pick up, meals to make, homework to supervise, bedtimes to observe. And then another day.

It's been nineteen years, and Evelyn has done every job at Skyline practically but President, but to be that, she'd need to work as a driver, and she's not interested. I'm sure she could have been one of the people answering my late night call when I was freelancing at a magazine that had a contract with Skyline. She certainly knew enough of my colleagues.

And Evelyn is only 43. But her time at Skyline is almost half a lifetime. She has married, had three more children and then divorced. Her oldest children have children of their own, making Evelyn a grandmother of six. Hard to believe for a woman who looks like she is in her late 30s. Perhaps it's her gratefulness. Her children have jobs, houses and lives of their own, every parent's most cherished hope. Her younger three are making their way through high school.

Tito and I left her at the bar and took a turn around the neighborhood walking off the sandwich and shepherd's pie we had just eaten. At that hour most houses were dark. We walked up one street and down another. I pointed out to him the house I'd spotted for sale, where I'd peeked through the broken window to its abandoned rooms. The camera only saw the window that reflected me back.

We turned back and threaded our way back to our block and all its familiar landmarks. First we came to the Skyline parking lot. Then their new building. Then their old one where I'd seen Evelyn's arm. Tito paused in front of the next building. We were four doors away from our own building. "This is where Evelyn lives."

2 Comments:

Blogger Janet said...

Oh, it's good to be back and catch up on Blissville. Funny, before I left, I wondered whose arm that was...and now you have discovered who it belonged to. And with yet another wonderful story to be told.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Blissville said...

You are back! And surely full of stories yourself, which I look forward to reading about!

7:52 AM  

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