Stephen Banks never had perfect vision. He did not discover that he had 50/10 vision, however, until age twelve, when the teachers at PS 404 demanded that he be taken to be tested. He was always the quiet, helpful child in the back row who never had a lunch and got by in school and life mostly through the generosity of his peers. He had to learn early on to rely on the kindness of strangers. This gratitude and the desire to give back, in turn, led him to the job he currently holds at Meadowbrook Nursing Home.
He was able to end his shift early to head to the Walmart's parking lot and began waiting anxiously. The big day was finally here. Stephen wondered if she would recognize him; he was ashamed to admit to himself that her face was a distant memory to him now. Mostly when he thought of her the only thing he could pull out of his memory was the smell of Newports and Elvis songs. It's funny what the mind chooses to remember and what it chooses to forget.
Focusing on the street, he saw a white Buick Le Sabre pull hesitantly into the empty parking lot. He sucked in his gut automatically (even though he was still in his truck) and checked his teeth in the rearview mirror. At this point what's done is done, he repeated to himself like a mantra, in reference to the situation. Fear gripped his chest and he held nervously onto the door handle as the Le Sabre slowed to a crawl by the side of his truck, finally stopping three spots down from him. Would she be angry that he didn't look for her sooner? Should he be less angry that she didn't?
The rain was coming down gently now, as if the universe was playing into the dramatics occurring in the Walmart parking lot.
When he couldn't take one more second of the panic in his throat he opened the door, strangely comforted by the familiar feel of the spring shower against his skin. He did not know her smile or remember her voice, but he was certain of the sound of the rain smacking on the asphalt. At once Stephen became hyperaware of her vague form approaching. He kept his head downward, willing himself to keep walking toward her as well. The five year old boy in him was too terrifed to look directly at her. Scenes of countless foster homes played in his memory. Everything had brought him here to this.
There was a lightness in his head as he felt his glasses slide off his face and heard them bounce on the pavement.
Bending down, he blindly fumbled for them. Crouching to retrieve them, he suddenly became furious that her first impression of him after all this time would be this. He couldn't even keep glasses on his face! Years of hatred boiled up and he felt the vomit begin to rise in his throat.
"Stephen?" her voice called and anchored him briefly to the earth.
He swallowed and began to put his glasses back on as he stood in front of this shadowy, colossal figure that had followed him all his life. A phantom had become flesh. There was a brief moment before she came into focus that Stephen saw the cresent shape reflections of the water droplets on his glasses. He knew that when he looked past them, for the first time, he would see his mother.
I'm sorry this Magpie was so long, i know usually we like to keep these short...but i am avoiding a take home exam and writing this was more pleasureable that doing the dishes. Thanks for reading!