Thursday, March 08, 2007
A Knight In Shining Armor?
I was on an errand downtown, in a rough part of town.
I was focussed on my tasks at hand. I only was thinking of completing my errands and not taking in my surroundings. My mind was occupied with my agenda, when my inner world was invaded.
My concentrated brain was distracted by an whistle.
A catcalling whistle.
'HooHoo...' the kind of learing whistle of a construction worker trying to impress his coworkers whistle.
'Come on... I am an old, married mother for goodness sake...' thought I. And with that discounted comment my mind revisited my list.
And then I hear it AGAIN!
Maybe my first look of annoyance did not get the point across.
I am a lone woman on an urban street.
I look to see where this, assaulting, whistle is coming from... I turn and give my nasiest, furrowed, don't think of messing with me, punk, scowl.
Wait a minute!
Nahh, It couldn't be?
The only person on the street is a guy leaning out of a hearse.
'Hoohoo' he whistles again... and adds 'Hot stuff, baaaabbbby!' Raising his eyebrows.
I see my assailant hanging out of the window, a broad smile beaming across his face.
I rolled my eyes for good measure.
And finally my thoughts crash with the influction of his voice... he says 'Pennnnnduuuuullummmmmm...Pendullum, don't you recognize me? 'he laughs.' I saw you blocks away. I had to pull a 'uee' to get to you...You haven't changed a bit!'
Whaaa? I know this guy? He knows my name... And I have not the foggiest who he is... I now have to focus on THE face and not THE hearse... But the hearse is downright distracting gleaming and sparkly just as the man who knows my name.
I approach the polished, back empty, hearse with laughing lunatic in the front who seems to know me quite well and is having great fun with this moment.
Billy Sheans! Pendullum, it's me, Billy Sheans!
I can not believe my eyes. And it shows. I am scanning this man for some semblance of a boy I once knew twenty years ago.
Billy Sheans from high school.
Billy Sheans who spent fifth period spare with me in grade thirteen.
Billy Sheans, the guy that used to play tuba(A&W theme song) at the bus stop to keep me entertained as we waited in the cold, cold, dark, winter nights after band/choir practice.
Billy Sheans who hosted the worst permed Afro I have ever seen on a white man.
Billy Sheans who used to streak his hair.
Billy Sheans that used to wear really tight jeans and have a pic in his back pocket.
Billy Sheans who wanted to be a cop.
Billy Sheans who told the absolute best jokes with his 'Marty Feldmanesk' eyes.
Billy Sheans my olde confident.
Billy Sheans who always had an ear for a problem.
Billy Sheans who always had a song on his whistle.
Billy Sheans who always had a thoughtful word.
Ahh, that Billy Sheans?
'Billy Sheans??? How the heck are you?' still looking at the perfectly polished man before me.
'Geez pendullum, I was afraid you were going to throw something at me!' he says as he gets out of the car.
And with that, I laughed, a bit manically, as he does not know how close he came to getting a snowball between the eyes!
He laughs and throws his arms around me in an olde bear hug saved for the very oldest of friends.
And while he talked I found my ole high schoolbuddy, all grownup in the mourning suit. His hair was slicked back. He looked refined. He looked older;dignified. He had an ease of talking. He took off his gloves and just leaned against the hearse as if it were just an old car, a noble steed.
Billy had always dreamed of becoming a cop. He fell in love with the notion long before he met me in grade nine. He had always wanted to be a hero. Someone you could count on. Someone who would be 'there'. And what better than a cop?
And when he met me and discovered that my father was a Staff Sargent of Detectives he had died and gone to heaven. He would often grill me about my dad. He would always ask 'How 'Sarg' was doing.'
He would talk continually about the prepwork to his becoming a cop. He would list off the requirements. He would work on the things he had control over.
And the physical training he put himself through. He worked out everyday at lunchtime, he jogged and he did weights. He was going to be a cop.
Billy Sheans got his driving license on his sixteen birthday to prove that he would have had a clean driving record for many years before he placed his application.
For good measure he would throw in that he loved a good coffee shop, so the cops would have to want him.
And always with a smirk, he would add while nudging me in the ribs, that he, Billy Sheans, being a man in a uniform, 'a boy in blue' would suit him and the colour of his eyes. He would make a fine looking police officer, he would boast.
'It's all in the uniform, 'he would chide.'Chicks love a man in a uniform!'
Geez, when I think of how he would go on and on about it...It can still make me smile.
And as a teen I was slightly jealous, as he knew his path, he had it all mapped out. He had his dream, unlike me. I was so scattered back then. I would listen to him and be in awe of how he 'knew' himself. I would be in awe of the fact that he had a notion of what he wanted to be when he 'grew up'. A man in uniform. Clean,polished, ready to take on the world.
And now here we are grown up.
To find Billy in a suit, a grey and black mourning suit with white gloves and not a blue uniform, well, it did throw me off course. But then I do not know what judgement could be made of me, as I did not wear a noticable uniform and my life is still ever so chaotic and unmarked.
'Billy, I, I, I,ah? I just can not believe it...What are you doing now?' with a wide grinning smile, ignoring the white elephant in the shape of a hearse.
'I am a funeral director/mortician man...'
Wow... Ahh, what happened to becoming a cop?
Well, they said I was way too short, too thin, blahblah blah... I was never going to get any taller... And well, I gave that up...Just couldn't change the system ya know... I know they have their reasons... And I did try to become a firefighter but the same deal...
But Billy,I mean a funeral director... How did you go on that path? I would never have thought....
Nor would I? Who would have thought William Sheans, Funeral Director...
'William... Now that would throw me for a bigger loop... William?'
Nah... Can't change me, that much...Well, actually they call me, 'Bill' around the office...
'Those who can talk, call you Bill...' came my wicked retort.
'Hahaha...' he said.
You're still Billy to me...
And when I left him, I thought he did have the perfect job for Billy. A job in which he could never really have prepared himself in high school. Bill Sheans picked himself up, after a dream had 'failed', exchanged his blue uniform, for one that I would think could require as much courage and fortitude.
I could see his strength for people as they came to him in times, of unmanagable, grief. I could see him guiding them through and helping plan the end of various people's journeys. I could see him help those who are lost. I could see him being strong and brave everyday dealing with other human's sorrow. I do see him being a hero.
And when I think about it, the uniform he wears presently,it does suit his big, expressive, blue eyes quite magnificently.
I guess he's right.
'Chicks love a man in a uniform.'