At the end of a productive day, filled with work and Rotary, and a few warm hugs, I went out of the bright bar room into the chill of the dark night. I sat for a moment, letting my eyes stray through the windshield, drawn to the door which I’d just closed behind me. I felt the yearning rise in my chest like unchecked bile from a rotten piece of meat festering in my stomach.
I shook my head and pressed the button to start the motor.
In the parking lot of the grocery store I saw two children scurrying after their father. I leaned against the car with my hand curled against my chest. The man lifted the first little girl into her seat and brushed the top of her head in a moment so tender I thought I would collapse to the pavement.
I dragged myself away and into the assault of the relentless overhead lights. Pushing a small cart, I made my solitary way around the produce section, lifting a few random items into the rigid wire basket. I remembered the delicious breakfast that my brother Frank had made for me, eggs with hashbrowns from a package in the refrigerator. Simply Potatoes. “Better than fresh,” he remarked. “Already cut and seasoned.”
I craned my neck to peer at a spot three feet higher than my shoulders where the package whispered to me from an inch beyond the reach of my lily-white spastic hands. Turning, I spied a customer getting yogurt at the end of the aisle. Excuse me, sir, I called. Are you taller than I am?
He strolled in my direction, laughing. Everybody’s taller than you are, ma’am, he replied. He lifted the package down and handed it to me, a smile breaking across his face.
My heart took flight.
At the register, a young man of slight stature, maybe 5-5 to my 5-3, asked me if I had found everything I needed. As I put the Simply Potatoes on the conveyor belt, I admitted that I had.
It’s the twelfth day of the thirty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.