It's Sunday, and I'm perched on my stool in the shop just having exchanged a flurry of instant messages with my brother. They were mostly single-word exchanges:
Me: Gracias namiento
Him: Bertoli. Picolina.
*20 second pause*
Me: I WIN!
Such a pointless exchange is possible because unlike yesterday, with its welcome parade of customers, today is 49er game day and no one is interested in me or, more importantly, my beautiful toys. I content myself with smiling at people as they rush by in their 49er jerseys, caps, hoodies and, I assume, socks and underwear on their way, I'm guessing, to the party at their neighbor's house. I won't watch the game, but I'll be able to hear quite succinctly the blood-curdling screams, gasps, groans, and cheers from the small deli across the street. In this way I'll be able to deduce who is winning.
I will work a little bit on an essay that I'm writing, and I won't feel guilty. I'll sweep the floor again, dust the tables, re-arrange the German furniture in the Maine-made dollhouse. When, by a small retail miracle, someone does walk in, we will each be bewildered that the other is not watching the game.
Maybe it will be the small old woman who frequently stands outside and smiles at me through the window. Sometimes she comes in, clutching her purse close to her body. She's always in a pink cardigan and elastic-waist gabardine pants, her hair silver and close-cropped. She told me once that she lives in the senior home on El Camino and likes to take walks. Her daughter and grand-daughter live in nearby Hillsborough, but I have never seen them; she's always alone. She moved here from Michigan, she says, after her husband passed away. I think I'm part of a promise she's made to herself to talk to someone, sometimes.
She told me her name, but I can't remember what it is.