Old Ollie would wander around town, but she always seemed to be going somewhere. She wore a long skirt and a heavy cardigan, always colors of the ground, varied but earthy all the same. She wore a little hat. Not a fancy one or even recognizable as a style, more like a few flattened pancakes on her head.
Her hair was just to her shoulders, blunt cut and strung with grey, a bit wild.
She walked with a rolling limp, as though she was walking along inside a dingy, she was bent and twisted a bit so maybe that’s why.
She talked to herself, muttering along as she walked. She never talked to me, but I would follow her if she was going in my general direction. Even when she looked at me, she looked through me and past me.
She would glare at the monster kids who threw stones at her. The same rotten kids who threw them at me. That’s why I followed her. I never saw her do anything more than hold up her arms to shield her face. I beat those kids when they picked on my brother, and I beat them if they went to hurt Ollie. They were just nasty little sissies, so I never got hurt too much.
The reason I followed Ollie (and probably why everyone said she was crazy) was the way she recycled her chewing gum. She would walk and chew and mutter along, then she would take it out of her mouth and stick it on the bottom of her shoe, walk awhile without it, then get it and chew on it again. I wondered why she didn’t drop dead. My mother hated dirt and germs, gagging when men spat on the ground. Making us wash our hands when we touched things she deemed unclean. Yet here was Ollie, collecting all of that, and putting it inside herself. So, seeing Ollie always made me happy, because she was winning and all the germs my mother was crazed about were losing.