“Our best seller is the goat’s milk lotion,” she said. “We sell a lot of that. I use it everyday. If I have a cut, scrape, burn, or bruise, I put it on there because it has these wonderful healing properties. Even my husband and son use it now. But, I use it everyday. I take a long bath and then I dab it on to my face afterwards.”
“That must be why you’re so pretty,” said Joe.
She laughed. I was standing over by the goat milk display trying to figure out the prices for each item. None of them had any tags.
“Well, come on over here,” her voice smiled. “All of you. Try some. I have some testers here.”
I didn’t move. I wanted to stay planted at the goat’s milk display. There was something too pushy in her pitch and it turned me off instinctually. I didn’t want any part of it. But, Joe stepped right up.
“Here, let me try some of this on you,” she said.
“I don’t want anything that smells,” he replied.
“Oh, no. I was thinking of this one for you,” she nodded. “It has no scent at all and a lot of men use it.”
“Well, my legs itch at night. Do you think this stuff will help it?” Joe asked.
“Oh, yes, on account of its healing properties,” she said.
I about lost it just then. Healing properties? What in the hell. I looked around the boutique and my brain fried from taking in the mish-mash of items on display. There was the goat’s milk shelf, of course, but then there was the John Deere mugs, and the flask with the baby on it with his pants pulled down, and a giant pig pillow, and an apron that said, “Thank god for horses.” I had to get the hell out of there. I had to get out now. I left Joe with the saleslady knowing he’d walk out of there after buying something. I ran across the street to get myself a soda and a snack. I just needed some air. Sometimes knick-knacks make me hysterical.
I sat and sipped a soda as I thought about the boutique. The saleslady was needy and that had repelled me. There was a “help me” in her voice. We were the first customers who had walked into her mix and match store since it opened about a month ago. I know it just opened because she told us. In fact, she hadn’t come up for air since we entered. She even offered us five different discounts before any of us had approached the counter.
Joe’s wife walked over to the snack bar where I was sitting. She was slightly annoyed. Joe had flirted with the saleslady AND bought her damn lotion. Joe came bopping over moments later with a frilly bag dangling from his chaffed, cowboy hand.
“You got suckered into the lotion, huh?” I said.
“He got suckered alright,” said Joe’s wife.
“Well, sometimes at night, my legs itch,” said Joe.
We headed back to the truck and went to go pick up my wifesy. Joe is her dad and his wife, her step-mom. We were all chatting as we headed over to the restaurant when someone brought up the lotion again.
“Your dad bought $22 worth of goat’s milk lotion today,” I said explaining the situation to wifesy. Wifesy smiled.
“Yeah, he told the lady it made her look pretty. I thought, geez, what a little makeup will do,” said the step-mom.
“It has healing properties,” said Joe.
“Listen, Joe, why don’t you rub some of that goat’s milk lotion across your chest. Then I bet you can stop taking your heart medication. ‘Cause, you know, it’s got healing properties,” I said.
Joe fell out laughing and so did I. Wifesy and wifesy’s step-mom did too.
“Sometimes at night my legs itch!” I yelled through tears streaming down my face.
“Well, they do,” said Joe between laughs.
“Yeah, but I’m sure a little lubriderm or any old lotion at the pharmacy would’ve stopped that,” said Wifesy. “Have you ever used any lotion on your legs at all?” she added.
“No, never,” he said and we all fell over again.
“Well, it’s a good thing you got that goat’s milk then,” I smiled.
We all laughed ourselves down to a low simmer and then picked at our salads in a satisfied silence.
After a while, Joe said, “You know, in your bathroom, there’s a door in the ceiling. I’ll bet a ladder comes down from there and goes right up into your attic.”
“That’s interesting,” I said.
“What should we put up there?” asked Wifesy.
“Well, we could put your dad,” I answered.
“Just make sure he brings his goat’s milk,” said her step-mom and we all chuckled again.
I thought about my dad right then. I thought about his crippling anxiety. I thought about how maybe he has Asperger’s. I thought about how he doesn’t really do small talk with strangers in stores or laugh at himself. I thought about how he yells so much that he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it anymore. And he never would’ve bought $22 worth of goat’s milk lotion for no reason from a desperate lady in a sad little boutique.
But, Joe did. Joe, he made that lady’s day. He even offered up the fact that “his legs itched” – so she’d feel like he really needed the stuff. He’s a good guy like that. A really good guy. In fact, he may even have some healing properties.
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Photo cred: Goat