by Debbie M
A wannabe writer's brief encounter with a door-to-door salesman.
He came to my doorstep at approximately 10:00 one cold Wednesday evening ten
years ago today, an unusual time of the night for door-to-door soliciting. He was selling
these surprisingly non-cheesy-looking laser paintings , apparently in support of students
from the United Kingdom attending school in the States. Highly dubious business, that.
And, as unusually attractive as this Brit on my front porch appeared to be, I was no less
wary of him. It was, after all, inching well past 10:00. School night, innit, Sunny Jim?
But he was an amicable sort. When I told him that my financial situation would not
allow for something as frivolous and indulgent as a $35.00 zapped-on portrait of a
unicorn but that I was rather curious as to the origin of his Beatlesque accent, he flashed
me a broad, sincere, enthusiastic smile. He seemed almost relieved to be excused from
the monotony of his sales pitch. With a flawless, almost eerie impersonation of the late,
great John Lennon, he said that , yes , he was born in Liverpool but raised in Northwest
This was my first close encounter with someone from the United Kingdom and I must
admit that, having been raised on a steady diet of Monty Python and The Beatles, I was
instantly intrigued. He looked to be in either his late twenties or early thirties. He had a
tall, wiry frame, the typical jagged, nicotine-stained teeth that Brits are noted for, and
bleached blonde straw-like hair with a short black ponytail that looked as though it had
been dipped in ink. He wore the sort of outfit you would find in an independent import
movie such as The Full Monty : black car jacket, faded blue jeans, white t-shirt, black
Doc Martens…But it was his eyes that have stood the test of time in my overcrowded
mind. He had these intense, ice blue eyes…
I have no idea why he was on my doorstep at such a strange time of the night, nor
where he was going when he left it. I have not seen or heard from him since. I’m now
happily married to a man who is, oddly enough, from the same part of London as he had
been. But I have not, in ten years, forgotten that all to brief encounter. In fact, there was a
time immediately following that I was somewhat obsessed with finding him again. Of
course, I never did, but being the young romantic would –be writer I was in those days, I
fantasized about him, even creating stories in which I did see him again and we lived
happily ever after.
I’m older and (presumably) wiser now, but he will remain a reminder to me that into
everyone’s life there comes a person, place or thing that leaves a mark you can never
erase and which becomes a part of who you are.