Rachel and I were standing outside in the August sun, waiting patiently on a woman to finish her cell phone conversation. She looked like an overdressed Flo, talked with a vernacular that could only be Alabaman, and made eye contact with us every thirty seconds holding up her index finger as if to say, “I’ll be right with you.”
She was sitting on a concrete picnic tabletop with her feet resting on the bench under a shade tree in an RV park. Five minutes into the conversation we had picked up these details: they were in “the oil business,” her husband was in the trailer and she was late for a meeting with him, and she wasn’t sure if they could take that job or have to refer them out.
I’m not sure how much time had lapsed when she finally ended the call. In my head, I envisioned the minutes log on her next month’s phone bill reading “length: twenty or so index fingers signals.”
“What do y’all need?” she asked, looking as if she really needed to get to her meeting. In the trailer. Right there in front of us. The one she was glancing at, then looking at us with eye signals and pleading eyebrows as if to say, “Move it along, I have an appointment.”
Explaining our project, we shared that there didn’t seem to be that many people in Little, OK and we thought this trailer park might be a great place to meet someone.
Looking directly at the both of us she replied, “I don’t think this is Little, Oklahoma. I don’t know where Little, Oklahoma is.”
I glanced at the trailer park sign clearly visible from our vantage point. The name, “LITTLE, OK” was hand painted in white letters against the faded blue background. Across the road, “THE LITTLE GROCERY & DELI, Little, OK” had at least three customers in the parking lot, one getting gas, and one pulling in.
I looked at Rachel, glanced at Flo who was physically leaning toward the trailer waiting to be released with our words, and I gave in.
“Okay,” I said. “No problem. It looks like you’re busy, we’ll check out The Little Store across the street.”
Rachel and I looked at each other, ambled back to the car, and had the same thought we later verified with each other as we drove to the store: “Some people are just weird.” In my rear-view mirror, I noticed the license plates on her RV read: Alabama.
Our conversation that took place a few minutes later was with an 18 year-old from Tahlequah who was working for his Grandpa’s store in Little for the summer. Two weeks after he started working there, he began dating the other employee who was a year older than he.
Miles wasn’t quite sure about his next move in life. His girlfriend had meticulous plans for her next three or four. But at some point in the conversation, the two of them and the two of us made a small connection…about ghosts.