/ / Upside Down

Upside Down

Debbie Stanton | debbiestanton.com

by Debbie Stanton

Suzanne, a 35-year-old real estate agent, wasn’t busy at work. From her office, she took off on foot. Fresh air would be good for her; she needed that again–especially because of recent events.

In front of a store, she saw an odd floral arrangement on the sidewalk–an upside-down clay pot with a pot of flowers on top. A wadded-up newspaper encircled the bouquet as if it was florist’s paper. The curious thing about the newspaper, however, was its color was peach.

Suzanne walked past more stores until she arrived at a city park. Gratefully, she sat on a bench and looked around. No kids played, as it was only two o’clock. The food vendors weren’t out yet. Car horns sounded on occasion, and for once, Suzanne didn’t notice. She recalled what happened last week and thought about it.

Another driver sideswiped her car, and it was in the repair shop. At the minimum, it would need a re-balance of its tires and a fender repair.

She had run into her office wearing heels again and tripped on something on the sidewalk. Embarrassed much? Yes, she was. A kind stranger took her to the emergency room because she looked dazed. She had a sprained ankle–at least, it wasn’t a full-out blow to her body.

The meeting at City Hall was a disaster. There, she and her committee members tried to access permission to install a traffic light on the corner of Sixth Street and Laurel Avenue, but they didn’t receive the permission. Then, another committee protested that real estate agents jacked up the home prices lately, and they wanted more authority to keep house prices at bay. Didn’t the citizens know that home prices were determined in large part by the stock market?

The day after the eventful day, Suzanne took her dog, Sparky, to the vet, sick with a mysterious illness. Sparky was still at the vet and recovering, although it was a long wait for her pooch to finally come home.

“Suzanne?” a feminine voice said. It woke her up to the present, where she’d finished her continental breakfast of a doughnut and coffee in the break room.

“Are you all right?” Denise, her assistant, said. “We’ve all been worried about you, truth be told.”

“I will be. I’ve just got to make some changes in my life,” she said. “Like I should have a decent breakfast each day instead of caffeine and sugar. I need to exercise, but now I’ll wear wear athletic shoes so I don’t trip again. Oh, and I should definitely stay away from my favorite stores. It seems with the hospital bill and vet bill and yes, even the car repair bill, I don’t have wiggle room in my checkbook anymore.” Suzanne sighed loudly.

“My gosh, I didn’t know all that went on,” Denise said. Her forehead wrinkled with a frown.

“What?” Suzanne said. What was up with Denise? Was Suzanne such a stupid person she made Denise and the others worry about her?

“I don’t want to cross the line, Suzanne, but I wondered if maybe there was an object you could always think of when you felt you weren’t good enough?”

“I’m just a dumb woman who is prone to accidents; I don’t need anything to look at.”

“Hey,” Denise said, “Don’t talk badly about my friend.”

“Thank you for your concern, Denise. But you know something? Maybe there is something I can think of,” Suzanne said. She thought about what she’d seen on the sidewalk last week.

“Yeah?” Denise said, leaning forward in her chair with excitement. “What is it?”

“Last week I saw a flower pot on top of a pot turned upside down. It looked kind of strange, even though the flowers were beautiful; and the newspaper around the bouquet was a funny peach color…I’ll think of that, in answer to your question. It will remind me that there is more than one way to exist and still be beautiful. All is not lost,” Suzanne said.

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