Last night at work, I walked past an older lady who stopped me and said, "Can you help me for a minute?"
"Of course," I replied.
She had some questions about the colors of a sofa she was partial to. We discussed things about the sofa and another one on the other side of the aisle.
This gal was a very tall black woman with an intense personality that reminded me of my elementary school teachers in Louisiana.
So I told her I'd need to go up to the front of the store and ask some questions to get the info she needed about the sofas.
"Are you new? Are you seasonal?"
"Yes, I've been here a little over a month. I'm hoping they keep me after the holidays. But I just moved here from southern Utah. Was working 40 hours a week and still couldn't pay rent. So I moved in with my ex-husband on a temporary basis."
"Utah...that's where the Mormons are..."
"Yes, I was Mormon."
"Are you still Mormon?"
She laughed a sort of victory laugh and put her hand up for a high-five. I couldn't help but start laughing myself. I high-fived her back and said, "And I voted for Obama."
Her laughter got louder and she threw her arms out to hug me. We hugged a good, tight bear hug. Then she said, "Sit down girl! Sit down! We gon' havta talk! My name is Brenda Brown!"
So we sat on sofas facing each other.
"So what brought you here?" she asked.
"I came here so my kids can be close to their dad. We've been divorced for 2 1/2 years."
"And there's no chance of reconciliation??"
"No... he's gay."
And simultaneously she gasped and her dentures popped out! Which made her gasp again and proclaim, "Ashley, I wear these cause I'm having dental work done... That's a lie, that's just what I tell people, I'm not having dental work."
I have barely stopped laughing throughout this entire ordeal.
After she calmed down she got real serious and said, "Tell me more about this. I'm gonna kill him." Referring to Matt. "Were you just shocked?"
"Um...no. I knew before we got married."
"Yes, but we were Mormon, so we thought that-"
"Oh, I know! I know about the Mormons! I saw a documentary! The Mormon church is a lie! They ain't Christian! I know that Obama is Christian. That Mitt Romney ain't Christian! Do you and your ex get along?"
"Yes, and I support him and-"
"Don't do that. Don't support that. That's not of God. You're not born that way. That is born of sin! My sister is gay. She wasn't born that way. My father beat her after she looked a boy, so she became interested in girls."
I'm sitting on the opposite couch doing that thing that my friend, Southern Sister, does when she's listening to something that she thinks is utterly ridiculous but doesn't want to be rude: "Uh huh. Hmmm... Okay," while nodding my head ever so slightly.
She continues, "And with those men, it's all about their wee wee! Don't they know that's not always gonna work?! Like everything else on our bodies, it's gonna droop! It ain't gonna work forever! And then what they gonna do??"
"Wow, yeah, right, hmmm..."
"The kids don't know, do they?"
"Yes, they know."
"Do they understand it?"
"I'm fairly certain."
After that, we started talking about sofas again. She got the help she needed from another sales associate, and I went back to stocking egg nog flavored scone mixes.