$124.48 Worth of Heaven

"You look amazing," she said. And with that I was sold; might empty out the 401K before she was done with her pitch. It didn't matter her remark was likely only a sales ploy. She said it so it counts. It's the law. A compliment received, regardless of any motivational factors, is yours forever. Later she would tell me I was the same age as her father. So close.

It was a Thursday morning and I had just arrived in Houston. I was there for the purpose of seeing my brother, catch up; perhaps buy him lunch. With time to pass before I was to meet him I decided a visit to the Galleria was in order. I walked the impressive center awed by its appearance, marveling at the exotic merchandise at every window display. I had been there but a half hour when I made eye contact with a pretty sales attendant manning a booth on the second floor. I politely nodded to her and continued walking. She surprised me, asking me to step towards her product cart.

Her name was Halo. She wasn't very tall, perhaps five and a half feet on her toes. She had long black hair and eyes the color of amber stone, with lips the shape to make the vogue-est of Vogue cover models seething with rabid envy. She spoke with an accent, one I couldn't place, with a timbre to make butterflies dance, and her melodic pronunciation of the condition, Psoriasis (so-ree-ah-sis), would make the most aggrieved sufferer thankful they were so. Well, maybe just me. When she told me she was Israeli I thought, "I want to go Israel."

When she had me sit down and began to apply Pear & Apple Scrub on the area directly beneath my left eye I became uncomfortable. I was still stiff from three hours of driving and my hair was likely in need of combing. My breath, I was certain, still smelled of Starbucks. As she spoke to me I kept hoping she would turn away long enough that I might slip a breath strip in my mouth.

What most impressed me was Halo wasn't relying solely on her handsome features, attributes she could no doubt utilize to amass considerable wealth, but in an intelligent, practical manner, was providing me with knowledge I could actually have use for. Simply put, her product is a unique blend of organic ingredients that gently and effectively break down dead skin in order to stimulate the growth of new collagen, thus creating healthier, younger looking skin. She then asked me questions, she listened, and she provided solutions. And there it was; simple, natural, effective. All that remained was that I shake the stigma I have of skin care and I was good to go. Alas, at that moment I was too smitten to give this new information the level of consideration it deserved. Hopefully, soon I will.

When the transaction was completed I thanked her and respectively held out my hand. She took it and then gave me the warmest hug I'd had in-oh so long. I left, walking in a mild daze, my shopping bag hoisted over my right shoulder, trying to assemble the past minutes in a secure part of my brain, a memory I could retrieve at times and places of my choosing. It wasn't long before I was approached by a second female sales person, another pretty but with a French accent, hoping to prove her skin care products superior to all others. I tried to be courteous, telling her I was soon to meet my brother and couldn't dally, but she seemed not to be believe me. I wasn't lying, not really. Had I been completely honest I would have said to her, "I'm sorry, but my cosmetics heart belongs to Halo."

The Shea Salt Body Scrub I purchased remains unopened, safely stored on the top shelf of my bathroom cabinet. I'm certain I'll eventually open it, in a few weeks, perhaps months; when the image of Halo begins to fade from my memory. Until then I'll continue on as before, doing what Social Workers do; thankful for those pleasant moments of reflection that are the offspring of fond memories.

It's not likely I'll ever return to the Galleria. I doubt I could ever come up with a practical reason for doing so. There would be no sale price low enough no item of merchandise inviting enough that could mask my true purpose, that once inside, I would spend every minute looking for Halo, listening for her voice; hoping I might again hear her say, "Psoriasis."