Missing Your Parents

One of the last times I did a presentation during my direct sales job, I was in the dirty, cluttered apartment of an old lady. It was an affordable housing building. She smoked a pack a day and the 300 square foot unit hadn’t been cleaned in so long that there was a half centimetre layer of dust on the fridge. Everything was tinted orange or brown. I felt my life getting shorter with every breath.
The old lady, she was nice, and funny. She told funny stories about her ex husband. Just like most salesmen, I liked people, and she was no exception. We got along really well, and I felt concerned for her. Looking around, I could tell she had children by the photos and numbers on the wall. But when I asked if they came by to check on her, she said dismissively, “they’re busy,” as if it was completely ok with her.
She was considering buying the product and looking around for a bank statement to copy down some information. The bookshelf had picture frames all over, and envelopes stuffed down the side and up against one. It was an old black and white photo of a blonde woman with curly hair and glasses. And as my new friend reached for the envelopes, she knocked it over.
She exclaimed, “Oop, sorry mom.”
I came so close to tearing up that I had to look away.

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