pearls around the neck • 179
A 1963 Buick Rivera is parked in front of the 7/11, also a pharmacy, a drugstore, and a post office: the
engine is running.
On the trunk, a worn out sticker claims: “God Christian Working Moms”.
Au volant de la voiture, une vieille toquée de 80 ans, de 120 ans, de mille ans, maquillée comme un carré
An 80 year old, a 120 year old, a thousand year old wacky cookie sits behind the steering wheel of her
car. She is smeared with make up as if attending an opening night premiere in Las Vegas. She is coiffed
with a pastel green hat; a faded velvet rose hangs miserably between her eyes; her eyes are hidden behind
the curtain of her heavy, purplish eyelids.
A few boucles of white hair dangle from beneath the hat. On the tip of her nose, a pair of golden
tortoise shell glasses.
With an enormous seamstress’ scissor, the quivering wrinkled hands carve out coupons. The coupons
will save her some cents of her weekly frugal spending.
On the passenger seat, an old metal Earl Grey tea box stuffed with expired coupons: crumpled and
Once in awhile, the old lady plunges her trembling hand in the tea box and pulls out a coupon; she
reads the special offer, probably obsolete since 1989, she shakes her head slowly and resumes her
Aging… but under what circumstances?
Author: Catherine Beeckman, Baltimore, USA, 2009
Illustration: Catherine Beeckman