An Unexpected Gift
An Unexpected Gift at Astoria Sunday Market
They had sparkle dust around their shiny eyes and dangly earrings hanging from their lobes that swayed like little fairy swings. They had on a bright colored shirt tucked into their tight belted jeans.
The best part of their stand-out style was their hat, a faux leopard trim round hat with a black and red button pin.
They wandered into my booth and just stood there surveying the scene of my art. It was quite a picture for they themselves were so colorful like my artworks. I said not a word until they turned toward me. "Are you the artist?" they asked with a bit of a Jeffrey Marsh lilt to their voice if you know who that is.
I had a brief yet lovely conversation with this man who had such strong feminine presence that I do not know which pronouns to refer to them as so I am choosing the all-inclusive They.
I gushed over their style while they gushed over my art. Together we reveled in the liberty to Dress Up everyday. Why wait for a special occasion? (Life IS the special occasion!)
They wandered back into the crowd as I became occupied with customers. When my booth was quite busy I saw them wander back in and out so quick before I had a chance to greet them again. Later, when my surge of customers faded I saw it : the hat. They had left the hat on my table.
I panicked thinking they must of forgotten it. I looked for them but to no avail. So I put on the hat, I HAD TO , how could I not put on such a lush and glamourous hat? The moment I put it on a woman stopped into my booth and immediately said, "That hat is so perfect for you!"
I wore it waiting for the sparkly fairyman to come back to claim it. Surely he would come looking for his hat. I was so busy that I did not have a chance to leave my booth to scan the market for him.
And then, later in the day, they showed back up.
"Here's your hat!" I said as soon as I saw them.
"It's for you, I meant to leave it and give it to you," they said.
"Are you serious?" I said as as wave of emotion began to rise up in my skin and bones.
Then, they told me the story of the hat.
"I was on the pier when a man came up to me and said, 'This hat has brought me luck. Since I've had this hat I have sobered up, gotten married and am making good money. My time with it is over. I am passing it on,'" they said.
My heart swelled as I listened to his story.
"Now it's time for me to pass it on and I am passing on the lucky hat to you," they said.
"What? "I said with wonderment as my eyes filled with tears. I have been choosing to be sober from alcohol and am wide open for new love and increased income. On this day of all days was I being given a lucky charm from a magic man?
I welcome Lady Luck in all her forms.
"What is your name?" I asked them as we embraced one another good and tight.
"Which one?" they answered smiling.
I did not miss a beat.
"Whichever name you would like to tell me in this moment to call you."
'Susie," they said. "You can call me Susie," they said smiling big as a summer's day rainbow.
"Thank you Susie," I said and reached out for another embrace.
"You are so welcome," and then just like that, they pulled away and wandered back into the market crowd.
I had a record day of sales in the Astoria Sunday Market. I kid you not.
I plan to wear my leopard trim lucky hat on the cooler weather days until the time comes for me to pass it along.
I am indeed one of the luckiest women in this wild and grand life experience.