Monday, May 9, 2011

The Loser deals with a lost girl

The museum where the Complete and Total Loser works is hosting a special exhibition of colorful clothes. To accentuate them, all surfaces but the floor in the large gallery have been painted black. As with any exhibit of textiles, the lighting is dim for conservation reasons, but direct. The pathways are at odd angles, merging, circling, forking. Most leave the gallery and enter the exhibition store pleasantly dazzled.
Not the lost girl today.
“I can’t find my parents,” she told the Loser. She’d made it through the crowded store and reached the final register, weaving through giants, when she realized she’d exhausted all spaces. She was around seven or eight and couldn’t have been more than four feet tall. Cute, though the tiny face was scrunched in misery, eyes brimming with tears. Light sobbing had started.
The Loser, childless, of course, guided the girl in reverse through the exhibit, distracting her with comments about how dark it was and its similarity to a movie theater he worked in as a teenager and other tales, all with that heightened delivery those not used to talking to children use, thinking it will maintain their interest (“You know what happened to me once?”).
After a few minutes—long ones for the child—Josh, her brother, darted by and just after there was Mommy, lost in her audio tour.
Girl melded to woman, face pressed into soft, maternal abdominal muscles. The Loser gave the adult a little wave, a smile and shrug and retreated to his register. He glimpsed the girl some minutes later as they exited the packed store.
Later the Loser realized that chief among things he said to the girl were assurances that her lost state (or was it the parents who were lost?) was a common one. This isn’t true, at least to the degree it had reached for her. The Loser realized his goal was to relieve her of embarrassment, to help her not come away from the experience feeling dumb. 

crow in tree

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