"Hey, lady, are you this woman?”
Beverly started to ignore the young boy staring up at her with hopeful eyes, thrusting a book forward with the back cover facing outward. She opened her mouth to lie and deny who she was, but paused. She was already late for an unwanted appointment with destiny and this would make her even later. With a sigh, she stopped, closed her eyes for a second, and then turned to stare down at the child.
“It’s for my mother,” he continued eagerly, appearing to gain confidence now that he had her attention. “It’s her birthday and I got it on the table inside the store…with my allowance.” He beamed, displaying a space where a tooth had once been.
He “got it on the table inside.” That was another way of saying it was on sale, for pennies on the dollar—the story her life had become.
When Beverly turned away, she left the child standing on the sidewalk, staring at her as she escaped. He was left holding a book he had lovingly bought for his mother. He was left with a scrawled signature: “To Mommy, Happy Birthday, Beverly Crystal.”