C L O S E

on

She woke up, put on a robe, grabbed a rifle and headed to her car.  In two minutes she’d reached the supermarket’s front door where she left her car running before getting out.  They had just opened and she could see folks gathered in the floral department.

She walked over to the Starbucks counter while ignoring the people pointing at her and screaming the obvious “She has a gun! She has a gun! Call 911!”  The girl working the counter was on the floor with her hands on her head in the corner.

“Ma’am, would you mind taking my order?” she asked in a soft voice.

The girl nodded and jumped up staring at her with wide eyes to await the next instructions.  

“You know, I’ve been trying to quit coffee but it’s been hell. I’ve tried replacing it with tea but that didn’t work then I tried those gosh darned chocolate covered coffee beans which aren’t even coffee beans and hell if they weren’t good but I done flat used up all my fat cells so started growing extra toes and had to nip that in the bud cause let me tell you, summertime is around the corner and sixteen-toe sandals are damn near impossible to acquire without a passport to Bigfoot Mountain.  Look at me chattin’ away like you don’t have your own problems. Sorry about that.  Can I buy a bag of coffee grounds, the used ones?”

The girl stared at her like a mannequin for ten seconds before responding as the people in front of the store ran out while those walking towards the front began screaming the obvious just like the other group.

“It’s free ma’am, you can have them all.” the girl finally answered.

“Well, I don’t want you assuming I aim to take advantage of your establishment on account of this here rifle.  If it’s free for folks who don’t come in with rifles I’ll take it, otherwise I’m happy to pay whatever you charge.” she said.

The girl immediately said, “Oh, no, it’s free to any-, um, everyone” she stuttered.

“Well, must be my lucky day then so load me up.” she said.

As the girl turned to grab the coffee grounds she walked over to the floral department where she saw more folks hiding in corners.  

Looking at them she asked, “Did you all come to this store to get your mother, your wife or grandmother flowers for Mother’s Day?” 

They all begin nodding without saying a word in response.

“Listen, it’s a nice gesture and I don’t suspect any advice I give will be taken to heart but I’m gonna give it anyway. Just never mind the rifle. I’m gonna put it down a sec and show you something.” she said.

She put the rifle down next to her feet then took off her robe and stood naked in front of them. By the looks on their faces she could tell her nakedness scared them more than the rifle.

“I’m a mom…” she started.

“… and if you’re wondering why I’m naked I’d like to turn the question around and ask why you are wearing clothes, why you’ve come to shop in an unnatural environment to pay for the packaged scent of nature which has been dyed to appeal to your senses in order to gift that to your mother or any woman in your life in celebration of motherhood?”

No one answered so she walked over and sat on the floor next to them as they stared on silently.

“Today isn’t such a big deal to me but I know it is to you and plenty of kids, moms and dads. In about twenty minutes I’ll be in handcuffs and on my way to a women’s prison where believe it or not is my intended destination today. It’s the only way to get in actually.”

“My kids are all grown, all five of ‘em with kids of their own but they all live in different states and have busy lives so we do this Face Time thing every now and again.  It’s not the same face time I knew growing up but it’s what they know so I meet ‘em there and we see each other live a few times a year.”

“I’m naked cause I want y’all to see a mother for what she is and what she stands for. Mamas aren’t here to serve and protect what covers their offspring but aim to serve and protect their nakedness and their nature so they don’t cover it up or forget it. Your lives were first planted, grown and birthed from her womb and whether your mama is here or not I hope you know it’s the scent of your nature that is the source of her joy so don’t cover it with false lighting or with colors that appeal to the senses of the world. I ain’t saying you should leave here, get naked and hug whoever you’re getting flowers for but I am saying that you might consider heading over to that Starbucks counter and grabbing some of those free coffee grounds and maybe some flower seeds instead of these artificial painted flowers cause believe it or not, bugs on flowers, thorns and dead petals next to live ones on the same stem are a thing.”

She stopped as they all looked towards the doors at the front of the store.

“Well, seems the sirens have arrived. I don’t want scaring the living hell outta you on my conscience so please accept my apology and if you’re wondering about my toes just ask the Starbucks girl.  My rifle is empty, y’all are free to go.  Please tell the po po I’m ready, don’t forget to grab those coffee grounds on the way out and always remember to stay close to what’s natural and real.”