The pharmacy and the vet both notified me of pending prescriptions. Little Girl’s drug keeps her from having seizures. Mine quells two or three of the viruses which cling to my DNA. I hopped in the Prius and threw my bag on the seat, waving to my neighbor whose dog ran around my backyard, his five-year-old energy keeping my old Beagle’s bones from growing brittle.
With bottles in hand, I decided to stop at Crow’s Coffee for some of their house-made chai. I sat at a table near a plug, angling my tablet towards the light, browsing Kindle for a distraction. A voice drew my attention. Excuse me, ma’am, said a guy just a few years older than my son. I really like your hat.
I squinted in his direction, feeling uncertain. Thank you for saying so, I finally replied. He had one back: Thank you for taking the time to wear it, to bring your beauty to the world. I could not think of a response so I smiled. He didn’t want anything. He had nothing to gain by the compliment. He just gave it for free. He smiled too then moved away, taking a seat near the door.
I went back to my Kindle but couldn’t find anything to read. A few minutes later, chai depleted, small bite of food consumed, I slid my leather jacket over my arms and wrapped my scarf around my neck. I wore my sorrow like a gossamer blanket, a shawl falling to my knees. But it’s invisible. Most folks don’t notice it.
As I approached the exit, the young man rose from his chair and held the door for me. I had known that he would. I slid my eyes in his direction, unsure of myself. Thank you, I really appreciate this, thank you, I told him.
God bless you, ma’am, he said, his voice earnest and strong. You have a beautiful night. I promised that I would, and wished him the same.
In my car, I settled my belongings, thinking of letters that I have to write, and trial prep that I have to do. My house lay only half-dozen miles to the north as the crow flies, but it seemed a lightyear from that place where a young man gave me blessings. I started the motor and pulled from the lot, already feeling the yearning, already missing the warmth of the place.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the thirty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.