Saucy was turning fifty today, and she looked it. Well, she looked like she’d lived a hard life. Weathered. It wasn’t a hard life materially, and she’d never been abused or maligned in any particular way. She’d just been born a person she never understood, and this caused her so much struggle over the years. She always felt God was punishing her for something. Being she stood out like a sore thumb didn’t help.
Her proper name is Beatrice, but they always called her Saucy. Since as long as she could remember. Momma told her years later that it was because as long as she lived she always had a sharp tongue, was always quick with the short retort. Momma told her she never knew why. It seemed Beatrice, well Saucy, always had conflicts with many, and always had her “dukes up” so to speak. These conversations with Momma caused her to reflect some, but not too much really. Reflection wasn’t a strong suit of hers.
It could get her in trouble.
Saucy’s nurse was there, and was helping her get ready. She didn’t have much use for this nurse, what with her nosing around in all her personal space, and insisting she do all these things, saying she had to. I’m older than her for chrissakes, Saucy figured, but don’t really have much choice in the matter. Between her doing the laundry and getting all her medicines straight, the sponge bathing and the usual hassle of arranging her transportation from the wheelchair accessible van service, it made for more bustle than a normal day. It’s just that this nursie didn’t really seem to like her much. And talked on her cell phone most of the time.
She’s supposed to be working for me.
Saucy knew the center would make a big fuss on her birthday and had mixed emotions and anxiety about even going. Feeling mixed about things was natural for her. And anxious. That center always seemed to make too big a deal over people, she thought. And for some reason the workers there thought that it helped. They knew most never got much support really ever, and were misfits- a bunch of square pegs who never fit in the round holes of life.
Besides, like a cake and some singing really did anything.
The nurse answered the door to the Meals on Wheels volunteer with lunch. They were nice enough volunteers, mostly from the local program where the “mentally deficient” gathered. It was nice they did the volunteer work. She wishes she could do something like that. Never did. Couldn’t really. But now that the nurse had been working with her, most likely the food would stop, being she’s not as “shut-in” as she used to be. And was for so long. She won’t miss that slop anyway, what with them only giving her the “renal, diabetic” mushy diet.
Special food for her specialness.
Everything was ready and Saucy and nursie were out front waiting for the van. She had on her best flowered dress, which she wouldn’t normally wear, and the ditties who lived in her building were all paying attention to her. Old bags. She also had a big yellow flower in her hair that the lady down the hall picked out for her from the garden. The van pulled into the parking lot and that nice driver, the one who always flirted with her, jumped around from the driver’s side, pulling open the ramp for her to roll on in. There were already six people in there, and being that she rode with them somewhat regularly, she knew them all. They all ooohed and aaahed over her. She brushed them off but felt herself turn crimson. She even felt herself well up a bit too. Not something she usually did.
After a few drop offs, and the usual climbing over each other in the hot van, they arrived at the center. The same crazies were outside smoking, bunch of lay-abouts, and when the driver opened the van and pulled down the ramp and Saucy came out, they started giggling and whistling at her. She muttered her usual profanities and gave them a scowl, but it wasn’t the same muttering as usual. She felt a smile on her face. And for some reason felt like a real site to see.
That she made them happy.
She was pushed into the center by a big skinny loudmouthed black guy who once inside called out the others to just “take a look” at Saucy! She was blushing profusely, but as she rolled down the hallway to the main dining room she thought about her life. She suddenly realized she felt like a queen, or even a Star.
With a capital S!