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Molly was not what most people would consider to be pretty. That is not to say that she was ugly. She had a heart-shaped face with a very nice smile, her teeth even and white. Her skin was remarkably clear and smooth. She kept her brown hair on the shortish side with waves trending towards curls. Her nose was neither too small nor too large. Not pretty, perhaps, but certainly a pleasant, friendly face. One of those faces that made it difficult to guess her age. Just looking at her face, Molly could be anywhere from her early thirties to perhaps her mid-forties.
Nor was her body the kind you would expect to see in the fashion catalogs. She was on the tall side, perhaps 56 or 7. She would most likely claim she needed to lose 15 or 20 pounds but what the extra weight did was give her a rounder figure. Her breasts were full without being saggy and her hips were rounded without being flabby. Again, she had a pleasant shape, much more womanly more than girlish.
Easily the most distinct feature about Molly, however, were her eyes. They were a very pale, almost transparent, blue. And around the outer edge of the each iris was a dark ring. Just looking into them one felt swept up in her warmth and spirit.
I first met Molly in the baby and toddler department at the Target store in the mall. I was shopping for a first birthday gift for my brothers daughter. I am sure I had the lost look of a stranger in a strange land as I wandered up and down the aisles, looking over the multitude of baby paraphernalia “ the clothes, the blankets, the toys, the accessories.
I should probably tell you a little about myself. I am 26 years old, never married and no children (at least as far as I knew, I liked to joke). In truth, I am a bit shy and had not even had that many girlfriends and none that progressed anywhere near the topic of marriage and babies.
Since I went on a bit about Mollys appearance, I should be fair and tell you a little about my appearance. I am 57 and weigh 140. I have longish dark blonde (blonder in the summer) hair and green eyes. I live alone and work in social services for the government, trying to arrange services for senior citizens in their homes. I really enjoy my work in part because my clients are always so appreciative of my assistance.
So, the needs of senior citizens I knew something about; those of one year old baby girls, not so much. As I said, I am sure I looked completely lost as I searched for some gift for my niece. I was just on the verge of giving up, when this woman came up behind me and with these most spectacular blue eyes, asked: May I help you? It was, of course, Molly.
I stammered out what I was doing. In truth I was a little embarrassed to even be in the baby department and I am sure I blushed a little. The woman (I didnt know her name at that point) merely smiled and offered to help me find a suitable gift.
She led me back towards the racks of baby outfits.
You know, any girl, no matter how old, always likes to look pretty. How about getting her a pretty little dressy dress? She held up an adorable little pink and white dress with frilly lace and attached panties. Something like this, for example. This is for little girls 12 to 18 months old so it has some room for her to grow into.
The dress was quite cute. I could imagine my niece wearing it to her birthday party and perhaps on Sundays when she and her parents went to church. She handed me the dress and I examined it more closely. It fastened up the back and the matching panties were big enough to fit over my nieces diapers.
Why, yes, I replied, I think that would be just perfect. Thank you very much for your assistance. At that point I glanced briefly down to look for her name tag but saw none. In fact, she was not even wearing the red top and khaki outfit that Target sales associates are required to wear. Do you work here? I asked.
The woman smiled and said, No, not really. I do shop here a lot and you looked just so lost, I felt I should offer some assistance. I hope I didnt cross any lines. Now it was her turn to blush slightly.
No, no, not at all. I really appreciated the assistance. I am afraid this whole world of babydom is a mystery to me. I laughed and she joined in.
I could tell. Well, I hope your niece enjoys her new dress. The woman started to turn away.
I am sure she will. Then I did something very out of character. I felt so grateful that she had offered her assistance, I spoke up and said, I would like to repay you for your kindness. If you are not too busy, perhaps I could buy you lunch or something in the food court?
The woman smiled back and said, I am not really ready for my lunch yet but I would be pleased to sit with you while you had your lunch. Perhaps I could have a soft drink while you ate.
That would be wonderful, I said. I am Dan, by the way. And I held out my hand.
And I am Molly, Dan. She took my hand. Her hand was so soft and warm. Her pale, pale blue eyes looked into mine, sending a slight but not unpleasant shiver up my spine.
We ventured to the food court. I bought myself a deli sandwich and then, again contrary to my regular practice, a cup of hot chocolate, instead of coffee. For some reason, the idea of hot chocolate just seemed right. I bought Molly a small soft drink and we sat down.
Conversation with Molly came so easily, I was surprised. She was so attentive, her face was so warm, her manner so inviting, that I soon found myself telling her things about myself that I had not shared with some of my closest friends and even not with some of my girlfriends. And her eyes! I loved looking into her eyes.
While the conversation came easily, lunch itself proved to be a disaster. I was so wrapped up in what I was saying, that I made complete mess of my sandwich. Parts of it spilled out on the table, my hands got all messy trying to keep it corralled. I have never had so much difficulty eating a deli sandwich in my whole life. It got so bad that at one point Molly reached over with a wet napkin and dabbed some mustard off my chin, laughing the whole time.
Must be a very good sandwich, Dan. She chuckled. I nodded helplessly as she wiped my chin.
But the worst part was the hot chocolate. I had hardly taken any drinks out of it when it slipped out of my hand and, knocking against the table edge, splashed right into my lap. The warm liquid completely covered my crotch and halfway down the thigh of my right pant leg.
I was horrified. It looked for all the world like I had just wet my pants.
Oh my!!! Oh my!!! What am I going to do now? I looked helplessly down at my crotch. I will have to sit here all day until my pants dry out.
Nonsense, Dan. Molly said assuredly. Lets try this. And with that she took her white cardigan sweater off. Stand up and well tie this around your waist. I did as told and she tied the white sweater around my waist. It gapped a little in the front but mostly covered my wet crotch. Here, she said, let me button a couple of the buttons and it will cover you up completely. After she buttoned the two buttons, it did cover me up but it frankly looked like I was wearing a white miniskirt.
I am not sure about this, I murmured. It kind of looks like I am wearing a skirt. Plus guys dont tie sweaters around their waist; girls do.
I suppose so, Molly said, frowning. I suppose you have a choice of wearing this or having people think you wet your pants. Not much of a choice is it? She smiled at me. Where are you parked? Maybe we can just get to your car quickly and not too many people will notice. Her blue eyes sparkled.
Fortunately, I was parked right off the food court entrance.
Lets do this then, she suggested. I will walk you out to your car. Then you can head home and change out of those wet pants.
OK, Molly. I replied, really having difficulty in coming up with a better solution.
We walked towards the entrance, me keeping my head down and trying not to notice any people who might be staring. When we arrived at the entrance, Molly said, Give me your hand. The traffic is so bad out here, I dont want you to worry about getting to your car.
I placed my hand in hers, my head seeming to get more cloudy under the stress of the situation. She led me out into the parking lot, me following along helplessly, my eyes still downcast.
Where is your car, Danny? she asked.
Its the red Subaru with the peace symbol on the rear bumper. I think row 18 about half-way down.
Come on, then dear. We will be there in a minute.
I trudged along behind Molly, my wet pants feeling colder and clammier by the minute. I had never felt so embarrassed.
We arrived at my car. Molly looked back me, blushing behind her as I held her hand. She grabbed my chin and lifted my face, looking deep into my eyes. Here we are, Dan. Now that wasnt so bad was it, dear?
I smiled bravely and shook my head no.
Thank you, Mommy. I said. I can make it home from here.
Molly laughed softly, her laughter tinkling in the cool air. You are welcome, Dan. I am sure you can.
I slipped into my car and rolling down the window, I thanked her again and drove off. I was all the way to the parking lot entrance, when my head seemed to clear suddenly and I realized that I was still wearing Mollys sweater around my waist. I looked in my rear view mirror and over my shoulders, but she was nowhere to be seen.
I didnt even get her last name, I thought to herself. Oh well, maybe I will run into her at the mall again sometime. I would like that, actually.
I drove home, Mollys sweater snug around my waist.
(To be continued?)