I met Lime at the Flea Market.
She was hanging around a counterfeit goods stall, waiting for a pick up.
"Hey, you! Are you here to get rid of something?" she asked.
I was actually carrying a few magically charged items to get rid of. I had never been to the Flea Market before but a spirit worker from Arachne mentioned it's a good place to sell magical items so I thought I'd take a look. So I immediately thought she was in on my little secret. And she thought I was in on her secret. Unfortunately, we had completely different secrets. After a few awkward sentences, and my confusion at her clunky handheld computer, we realized our errors.
"Hang out with me anyway, I am sooo boorrrred," she whined.
"Uh, just stand here with you?" I asked. Then immediately felt like a weirdo. Why would I say that?
"So you are looking for a buyer, huh?" she asked.
"Yeah, I mean maybe. I don't know. I am a..." Here it comes. Here comes the face. Is she just going to think I'm crazy? Oh fuck it, who cares. "I'm a spirit worker. I work with a bunch of different spirits in the city and so I end up with a lot of magical crap and I can't use it all myself and my friend suggested coming here to try to sell them."
She nodded as she unwrapped a long stick of compressed vegetable and took a bite. "Your friend has a stall here at the market? I might know them, I’m here all the time," she said.
"Ah, no I don't think they do. I mean they are an internet friend, you know. So I don't know like... everything that they do, but they said they had sold things here before at least."
"Right..." she nodded. "I feel like I don't even know all the things my IRL friends do sometimes..." she started before interrupting herself. "Well if you haven’t been to the market, I can tell you that there are only a few people who buy and sell magical stuff and I dunno which ones are phoneys and which ones are the real deal kuz I'm not really like..." She moved her hands up and down, pinching her thumb and fingers togther. "...in tune with that kinda thing but I can bring you to them, if you'd like. I gotta wait for my pick up though. I don't know what's taking them so long. It's been like a thousand hours." Suddenly her eyes widened, looking behind me. "Oi!" she shouted.
I turned around to see a hulking pile of a person heading toward us, carrying an unfathomable number of gadgets on their back. "You looking for me?!" she shouted at them. They waved a weary arm and sat down on the ground near us and reached around their body for a black triangular box.
"Ya mind grabbing the other one, dear? It’s back there somewhere..." they sighed, pointing with their thumb over their shoulder. Lime glided over and around them, bending over to inspect them. It took a painfully long time before she cried "AH HAH!" and unhooked an identical triangular box from between a cluster of tea tins covered in rhinestones. Lime came around and sat down in front of them and held out their handheld computer. They picked it up slowly and entered something remarkably swiftly.
"One of them will go to a young lady in West Hollywood oh what street was it on..." they cooed.
"Sunset?" Lime asked.
"Beverly?" Lime tried.
"Yes. Fountain. The Fountain of Ambrosia. I rememeber now."
"St. Ambrose Church?"
"The other one is going to dalarpark… in the water."
"Dollar store parking lot?"
"Oh no, dear. It's a proper place, the Barn Dolart Park. But you have to go to the water. She wants you to meet her in the water."
"There is a barn?"
"No! It's a proper place!"
"Like that's the name of the place?"
"Yes. Barn Dolart Park."
"Barn Dolart Park..." Lime repeated.
"Barn Dolart Park." They repeated back to her.
I wonder if they mean Barnsdall Art Park. They continue to parrot each other. I might as well say it. I never say it. I always just sit there and wait, assuming I'm wrong and not making the guess.
"Barnsdall Art Park?" I ask.
"There you are!" They point at me, their eyes sparkling.
"Nice!" Lime smiles. "Okay, thank you. Did you want a water before you go?" Lime stuffed the two small boxes into a messenger bag and pulled out a bottle of water.
"Oh yes, dear!" She greedily snatched it out of her hands and ripped the top off with surprising swiftness and strength.
"I have to take my friend to a place now, bye!" Lime said before grabbing my arm and zipping off and away from the stall. We wove around a few corners and ended up at a colorful shop where she paused to apologize for the quick exit. "I just couldn't stand around there any longer. I felt like I might melt."
It was really hot that day. I remember coming home and having to peel my clothes off.
"Thanks for figuring that out. You must be a natural at those things. I wish I always had you around to figure them out for me." She grins.
Why is she being so, um, friendly?
There was a display next to us packed with plastic backpacks. Each was a different color. They had a clear plastic window in the front shaped like a heart. Lime caught me looking at them.
"Those are cute!" Lime said, scooting next to me and grabbing up the light green one. "Which color do you like?" she asked. I looked down at the lineup.
I picked up the pink one and then put it back. "Um, the purple one would probably suit me the best, I think..." I said as I picked up the purple one. It was a highly saturated lavender.
She watched me quizzically. "I can't help but notice you picked up the pink one first. Why do you think purple suits you better?" she asked, picking up the pink one and handing it to me. "The pink one sure is cute, huh?"
"I mean like... if I'm looking at all of them, the purple one looks the best in the lineup. But if I only have one, just on its own, I think the pink is the cutest," I tried to explain. It was a pale pastel pink and looked absolutely adorable with the heart shape. As I held it, I imagined a girl with white, bouncy hair and a baby blue dress wearing it. She turns around. Her face is clear and she smiles at me. She turns back around. The clear heart reveals a box of candy and a blue bottle of bubblegum soda.
"Do you want to get a soda?" I asked Lime.
"Are you asking me out on a date?" she giggled.
Am I? She is smiling.
"Yeah. Sure," I shrug. "If you want it to be a date."
"Alright, but you have to buy that backpack because I want to get the green one and I'm worried it won't look cute by itself."
"Okay, but I'm getting the purple one," I say. "It will go better with things I already have."
"Yeah, if you like- dye your hair or something..." She nodded sagely.
"You think I should dye my hair?" I said, pushing my bangs away. Why did I cut my bangs?
"Uhg! I think everyone should choose their own hair color! The idea that people live any portion their lives without choosing their own hair color is a horrible injustice. Our species is so concerned about being ourselves. Like our individual selves, ya know? And that we grow up to be comfortable showing others who that person is, but some people aren't willing to make basic expressions of their symbolic self. That’s why these backpacks are so attractive. We get to see the diversity of potential personalities sitting here. All lined up for us to view. Which one are you? Are you the dark, powerful black backpack? Or are you the aggressive orange backpack? Or maybe you are the sweet, optimistic pink backpack, but you'd rather be the mysterious purple backpack because you don't completely trust yourself to know yourself."
I couldn't tell if that was supposed to be a critisim or not.
"And purple will go with more stuff ya know, so. I mean you have the whole picture to consider..." She walked over to the person running the stall to pay for her bag. "Not everyone wants to commit to one side of themselves. It can be very confining, trust me I know- I've been experimenting with it myself."