It was unintentional on her part, I am sure. She didn’t mean to distract me with her blue uniform. That is, her and her blue uniform caught me off guard. I don’t know why, and maybe I’m crazy, but the blue polyester of her frock, which I only saw for a moment or two, clicked something inside of me.
A drug store clerk with brown, shoulder-length hair. On an evening like any other. A woman who I likely would have paid no mind to out on the street somehow got my attention on this day by simply wearing the blue tunic that she was forced to wear.
I should explain that blue is my favorite colour. It somehow seems to hold sadness and redemption all at once. I can’t explain it better than that.
I remember the blue tunic not for any discernable reason. In fact, I mention it not because the woman was stunningly beautiful, or because the blue was especially bright or engaging, but to illustrate that memory and the imprinting of a memory are mysterious things. It is sometimes really strange what one chooses to remember, and equally strange how one remembers that person or occurrence. Seemingly insignificant events or people can linger in the mind for years for ostensibly no reason. Other important events are forgotten. Other events are remembered but may not have happened. Or several people or events may be rolled into one. We may remember really strange dreams we’ve had and then in “real life” something happens that resembles the dream and we experience a kind of pseudo deja-vu, and maybe the event transfers from a memory of a dream into reality. Like I say, strange.
The blue tunic held me captivated for the duration of my drugstore trip. When I checked out, I naturally went to the blue woman. She was obligatory and not unpleasant. I watched her arm brush against her side as she took my money gently and without incident. She gave me my change with her other hand, and I noticed her manicure. Her blue tunic pressed against her chest ever so gently. Her nametag read “Rachael”. Her smile was genuine. She bid me good night and I took one last look at her. She was actually quite beautiful in her own simple way. She had blue eyes, too. Maybe that was it.
StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?