Strangers approached Tavious on the street – not sure why, but compelled to engage him in conversation. Others found their way to his front door. They shared with Tavious things they told no other. And somehow, magically, he would find for them what they needed. His magic, the magic of understanding, and his skill with locating objects, (often within his sheds and shacks and salons) solved many problems, and healed many old human hurts.
An example: One day Tavious was painting a decrepit old rowboat in front of his home; bright and gaudy pinks and greens – a gift for his oldest friend Ethelyn. She had recently become Queen, and as a tribute (and out of guilty feelings) Tavious wanted to give her something special and unique.
His young human wife, Marigold, six months pregnant, was in the house resting – her toes swollen up like cocktail weenies in the summer heat. A woman drove down the street and slowed to gawk at the jumble in their yard. Tavious took no notice, even as the car screeched to a stop, and reversed back to his driveway.
The woman approached Tavious, and uninvited, took a seat on an overturned bucket.
“There was a boat that color in the village where I grew up.” She said.
Tavious smiled at her encouragingly.
“We didn’t have a boat of our own,” she continued. “We were very poor. So poor that I don’t believe I owned a new piece of clothing until I was married. My clothes were always worn by someone else before me.”
“That’s hard.” Tavious said.
“What’s really hard,” continued the woman, “is sharing your parents with nine other kids. When my mother got old, she had an accident. She fell and broke her back, and was paralyzed for years and years. In the end, she went a bit mental. And I think she forgot about me…” her voice became a whisper as she spoke her darkest thought, “maybe even stopped loving me. Sometimes I can’t remember if she ever loved me. And now, both my parents are gone.”
Tavious had stopped painting. He watched the woman intensely, studied her face, digested her words. She was staring off into space, lost in her own sad thoughts and didn’t look up when he spoke again.
“Please wait here a moment,” he said softly.
Tavious walked with purpose to the back of the house. A lean-to attached to the house but not accessible from within was propped open. He disappeared for a moment, and when he came out he had a child’s suitcase in his hands.
He walked over to the woman and put the case on the ground in front of her, saying nothing.
The sound of the case touching the driveway seemed to rouse her and she reached for it eagerly, stopping to wipe the grime off the locks before opening the case. She opened the lid, and with a cry of delight snatched out the doll inside. It jingled as she pulled it close and tears threatened to spill from her wide eyes.
“My Golli!” she said.
“Yes,” Tavious answered. “It took a long time for her to save up the labels for that toy… jar upon jar of marmalade, months of scheming and saving…all for you.”
“All for me.” she repeated.
The woman got up and walked away from Tavious, the doll in her arms. She came back from her car a moment later and handed him a wad of cash.
“Thank you.” He said, accepting her offering.
“My mother loved me,” her voice was thick as she smiled at him.
“Don’t you forget it,” Tavious added, winking as he said it.