parking lot

It was still foreign to him to pull into the apartment complex lot after second shift. It had been three months and while there were a lot of cars, it was almost ghostly. When they did see people, everyone seemed to want to just blend into the landscape. It was a vacant life and he knew what was missing. He swore to himself not to mention it to his old lady though. Their lives were only just starting to have new purpose.

Where they came from everyone was unique; they’d built their lives around it. While his build was noticed in this beach community and at UPS when he unloaded the nightly trailer deliveries, his wife was finding it a lot harder to adjust.  Walmart employees came in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages but this new job still made her visible to all the passersby. Her and Harold knew there were options to make her become more widely accepted but it shouldn’t have to work that way. Her beard was part of who she was – and who she would always be.

Jeane had started as a greeter at the superstore but her masculine appearance seemed to scare the children. Cosmetics didn’t seem like a marketable option and management didn’t know if they should post her in the women’s department or the men’s. She ended up in the “Seasonal”. She was a large woman but not in a strong way, like Harold. She was overweight and had trouble moving between the skinny aisles. She was willing to keep trying though. She wanted Harold’s new station in life to work out for him. With both of them working second shift, they weren’t often in the mainstream but she knew Harold still yearned for more company. They were no longer traveling every three days and he wanted a more stable life.

Both of them had done their best to make a new home of their little apartment. Harold’s barbells were in front of the 12″ black and white TV being used as a makeshift bottom to their pallet coffee table. Jean had tacked one of the circus pennants over the hole in the wall. One of her nicer touches were the programs and arcade flyers, she splayed across the table like designer magazines.

Jean looked foward to coming home each night. Harold was as good to her as he’d always been. He accepted not just her appearance but also her moods after work. Tonight she commented about the abandoned parking lot too. While she was already enjoying not having to sleep in a pop-up trailer, it was the caravan of animals she missed. They could no longer watch the tigers at night or feed the snakes. It wasn’t the circus they missed,  but being able to take care of something besides themselves. Looking out the window that overlooked their car lot, Jean realized something was missing. She also made a note to bring some puppy chow home from Walmart.