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As if reading my mind, he sprightly offered, "That's right, I am ninety-two," adding firmly, "and I am still working.On my way right now, actually." He gestured down Broadway."Wait," he suddenly added.
"Take my card." It was almost as large as an index card; a coarse piece of gray paper inscribed with the name "Archer King" and an address in curly black letters. "Thank you," I said, smiling as Archer shuffled down toward 56th Street.************The rest of the day I kept thinking about what Archer had said about my eyes.He'd emphasized the word "sad."My entire childhood was embodied in a vault of sadness. I was the single smile that kept the vault from sinking to the bottom of the sea.When I was eight, my baby sister Lindsay was diagnosed with Canavan's disease.Canavan's is a genetic disorder in which the affected person lacks a particular enzyme that is necessary to break down NAA.Too much NAA interferes with the production of myelin—the building block of the brain.
The disease causes the child's brain to deteriorate, until they eventually pass away.
Thus my childhood—which before that time had been full of trips to Disney World, laughter, and lightness—became something else. My mother started a foundation to fund research while taking care of her severely handicapped child.
"Here, sir," I exclaimed, dipping down into the cardboard box behind me. Delta has landed as the official sponsor of Madison Square Garden." I smiled hugely, back on Barbie autopilot. " I replied, pushing my white baseball cap down on my head, crushing a bouncy blonde ponytail. well, sad, all at once." Normally, my guard would be up.
The elderly man looked at me curiously, as if I had just yelled "Jesus will save us! Instead of moving on, he looked directly at my face and studied me for a moment. But the old man looked at me not with a lustful gaze, which I'm used to, but with the eyes of a sage—someone who has more knowledge than he will ever be able to share with any one person in his lifetime..
"Well, thank you," I responded, shifting my weight awkwardly in my white jumpsuit. "If I only told you who I have discovered," he paused to smile.
"Everyone from James Dean to Tommy Tune." He looked less like a producer or casting director than an elderly man up to visit his kids from a retirement home in Florida.