IT’S THE STRANGEST THING

That little arts and crafts shop I opened. Things are happening I never would have guessed at.

I’ve always been an adventurer, going places that others fear or avoid out of reasonable caution. Something always seems to drive me to go see, or go do. Opening a store in our little struggling town is one of these. Part of me strove against the idea and I had to quell a lot of uncertainty about it even as I was determined to do it.

Not that opening the store is any great achievement, it’s not. But it was going to take a real bite out of my savings with no guarantee that it would succeed, that’s what created all the doubt. Many of the businesses out here have failed and shut down, people here are poor and there just isn’t much money.

Strange things are happening because of that store, not just in my life but in the lives of others. People come in and just want to talk to me. I don’t know why, it’s really weird. An old guy with a truly bizarre past, Russ, and who tells me all about his past, has decided that I’m his best friend and he comes in and tells me about all his adventures in life. Today he was there and a little boy came in with ten dollars in bills and change, in an envelope, and wanted to buy one of the $10 airplane models he’d heard about, and this old guy pulled out a credit card and bought him the most expensive model I had in the shop. The boy looked like a really deserving kid, skinny, bright eyed and poor and not a trace of meanness in his face, just eagerness. Russ and I both saw it. That boy’s life was changed a little for the better today, and maybe Russ’s was, too. He did a good deed and was the happier for it.

Russ left and shortly, a young lady and her mother came in. I know the young lady, and heard only a few days ago that the young man she lived with drowned in a river boating accident last Friday. She came in to see me because, it seems anyway, she wanted to be with me in her time of grief. I had no idea she felt that close to me, tho we have become friends and I’ve tried to help her. She has emotional problems.

She came with her mother, who waited out at her car while her daughter and I talked, and she seemed to be doing better when they left. Soon after that, another couple came in just to check out what I might have new, a very tall and large woman and her husband, a very small dwarf. I think they just wanted to visit, they’re into UV resin crafting, and good at it, and she showed me some of her work this time.

That ended the day at the shop and left me feeling like I’d stepped through some sort of science fiction portal into a new reality. Can you, Dear Reader, see why? This is not how businesses are run. People come in and don’t want to engage anyone in deep and revealing conversations, they just want to pay for their purchase and leave. That’s how businesses are run. I don’t ask anyone any personal questions when they come in, they just start telling me things. Out of the blue.

I’m not stupid, I know it must be something about me that causes people to do this. Maybe it’s just the way I look, an old man with a beard. Maybe it’s the way I hold my face, who knows? But it’s good, this is a good thing, somehow opening that shop and just being there is helping people. Life sure is strange.

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