February 7th, 2008

Volvo

Here's My Card

My sister Pamela was working at the American Eagle in the Nanuet Mall during high school. This was at a time in her life when, to avoid getting hit on by a neighboring mall worker she convinced him that she was identical twins, both of whom worked at American Eagle in the mall, and spent most of her time with him conversing about her fake identical sister to keep him off the topic of "when they could hang out." ("I'm Pam. Veronica works tomorrow.")

But my sister is not identical twins. She is one sister, Pamela D'Apice. And when she was not busy working retail or pretending to be a genetic copy of herself to keep the boy from Spencer Gifts at arms length, she was shopping, because that is what Pamela D'Apice loves to do. She has always loved to shop. And she had always wanted, as most sixteen girls want, something that would allow her to shop with more ease and efficiency.

And that was when the woman walked up to the counter and placed a gleaming credit card in my sister's hand that read, "Pamela D'Apice."

"Oh my god," my sister said, blushing. Shaking a little. "Are you serious? Is this for me?"

The woman nodded.

"Oh my god," Pam cried. "Oh my god. Thank you? Where's my mom? Who did this?"

"Who did what?"

"Is this for me?" she asked again, holding the credit card to her chest. "Are you serious??"

"Am I serious about what?" she asked.

"Did my mom give this to you to give to me? Is this like a surprise way of giving me a credit card?"

"What??" said the woman, who began looking around for hidden cameras in the same places my sister was looking around for our mother who, she was certain, would jump out at any moment and say, "Surprise!!! Enjoy your new credit card!!! We always loved you the best!"

"What are you talking about?" asked the woman.

"This card?" my sister began.

"What about it?"

"Is it for me?"

"Yes?"

"To keep?"

"To use."

"To keep and use!" my sister said, excitedly.

"No, not to keep!"

"Not to keep?"

"Not to keep," said the woman, both thoroughly flustered and territorial, holding eighty dollars worth of v-necks and sale items.

"So it's like a temporary card?" Pam asked.

"No, it's like a permanent card--" the woman began, "--that is mine. When you said, 'Is this for me,' I thought you meant, like, to use to ring up my clothes with. I have no idea what's going on here."

"For real?"

"Of course for real!"

"Are you giving me this card for me to have?"

"No!!"

"So this card isn't for me to keep?"

"What?" the woman looked skyward, toward the mischievous god of cash register antics. "Why would I let you keep my credit card?? How am I confusing you??"

And my sister, slowly letting her card-clutching hand fall from her chest, looked soberly at the woman and then at the card.

"So is your name Pamela D'Apice?" my sister asked.

"It is," the woman said. And then, after pausing for a few moments, "...is your name Pamela D'Apice?"

"Yeah," said my sister, fingering her American Eagle nametag that said 'Pamela.' "Pamela D'Apice."

They stood looking at each other across the counter for a few moments more.

"Ok then," said the older Pamela D'Apice. "Well it's very nice to meet you, Pamela D'Apice. I'm glad we sorted that out. Do you want to ring up my items now?"

My sister pursed her lips in embarrassment.

"Id love to," she said. "Did you find everything you were looking for today, Ms. D'Apice?"

"And then some," said the woman, as, items in hand and credit card in purse, she walked, relieved and confused, out into the rest of the mall.