Some days wrap themselves around your tired body like Mama’s cashmere sweater and the steaming cup of hot chocolate that she brings you with a plate of vanilla wafers.
Other days drag you down like heavy school brogues, clumsy and chunky. Their minutes stretch into eternities with a soundtrack of hollow laughter. The hands of the clock freeze on the second that the phone shrilled with tragic news. Those days settle in the back of your neck and in the furrow of your tired forehead.
I started this day with some stunning news about my health that I still struggle to comprehend. Then I watched a sulky technician completely abandon a confused older woman who didn’t understand where she was or what she should do. I helped her find the exit, waited while she searched for her car, and shook my head at the sight of an adult behind the steering wheel who didn’t even get out to open her door.
The day sagged after that. It didn’t so much go downhill as sink in the muck and mire of Monday. Time and time again, I shook my head. I felt my dormant ulcer protest and abandoned my coffee. Files piled on my desk; problems festered in my inbox.
Then I came home, back to the island, to the wide expanses of the winter fields with clusters of snow geese. A golden glow flowed across the horizon. Mount Diablo stood silent and majestic in the crimson sunset. A glimmer of hope stirred within me.
I realized that I had not checked my mailbox in several days, and pulled a pile of packages from its tight corners. I carried the lot into my house and dumped it on the table. I reached to run water for tea. The moan of the hot water heater foretold its impending death. Within seconds an ominous beeping filled my tiny space. Call the code. Reset! Reset!
It’s too late, we lost her. Flatline.
I sank into my chair. How would I spin this day? What bright, silver lining could I rend from the clouds? Where would I find the stardust to sprinkle on the pages of this account, this reckoning, this tribute to my never-ending quest to lead a joyful life?
My eyes fell on the little box adorned with Priority Mail stickers. I recognized the sender’s name, a woman whom I met two weeks ago at the Point Montara hostel. I pulled away the packing tape and pried back the battered flaps to peer inside.
And I began to smile.
Some days bring sweet messages from the angels who surround me, soft reminders of the enduring charity of those persistent beings. Today was one of those days.
It’s the twenty-fourth day of the seventy-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.