Tax Day Memories


Sad-Eyed Lady

By David Daniel

Mornings she’s out there on the sidewalk, costumed in a long satiny smock and wearing a spiked crown, both the color of tarnished bronze. Not clothing for not-quite spring; but this is about timing. April is coming and she’s an enticement, representing—I have to squint to peer into the strip mall behind her to remind myself—Liberty Torch Tax Accounting.

There’s no torch of welcome in her hand, and her gaze is darting, but she waves at passing cars and tries to put on if not an actual smile at least not an embarrassed I’m-doing-this-silly-gig-because-my-dad-owns-the-firm or a desperate my-kids-feed-three-times-a-day face. But it’s the morning rush hour and vehicles move past blind.

Almost no one honks or waves back. Stewed on FOX and NBC, jumpy with too much (or too little) caffeine, they have concerns of their own . . . a country in tailspin, crummy bosses, bored spouses, mouthy kids—and now taxes, too? Please.

I drive by with just enough glance to note the sad-eyed lady in the robe and crown and her half-hearted wave, and to recognize the bravery in it. I catch her eye and, surprising myself, I honk and flash a peace sign. A small smile opens her face. Just because the ship is going down is no reason to jettison symbols.

6 Responses to Tax Day Memories

  1. Steve O'Connor says:

    Sherlock Holmes told Watson, “You see, but you do not observe.” He’d be happy with you for doing both.

  2. willi says:

    I love how looking more closely into her eyes the narrator sees the person. Sees that she is struggling, but that she is there, still in the fight. And that just by staying in the fight you get someone at some odd moment on some random day to see what is always right underneath your nose. I’m not sure what Liberty ever truly promised people–especially in those immediate days that followed sailing past her into the harbor and hitting the mean streets of New York City, hoodlum alley, hell’s kitchen, wherever. But what I love most is the connection that made her smile. We might be painting the ship as it goes down, but as for me, and the narrator, and the woman, I’m hoping for a reset.