I started the day grumpy, my nerves jangled from too little sleep and too much coffee, slammed down from seven to nine while I struggled around the house. I moved an appointment to the afternoon and drove to the drugstore, hoping that I’d find a parking place. I had been unsuccessful on the previous evening, circling two or three times before heading home, discouraged. I had more luck this time, and got my prescription, heading to the office with a tin of nuts, a few protein bars, and a bottle of the drug that’s supposed to change my life.
I parked in front of my office building and pulled my carry bag from the car, just as a guy holding two paper sacks trudged passed. He smiled from under uncut hair and a greasy cap, showing his broken teeth. The smile hit his eyes and flowed to me. I went into the building, feeling a little lighter.
The next seven hours drained the golden glow. A client meeting, some misplaced documents, low blood sugar, and pain, always pain. By five o’clock, I considered my options and ended the work day. Back into the car went carry bag and pocketbook. I sat for a few minutes, listening to NPR, watching thin men and lightly dressed women moving into and out of the coffee shop next door. The wind ruffled the silken edges of a little girl’s skirt; her mother reached a hand down to steady the child as she opened the car door. Nobody looked at me.
I headed towards home. In the quiet of the car, I considered the evening ahead. As I idled at a red light, I stared at a tree next to the curb, almost unaware of the slight swaying of its branches in the quickening wind. And then, just before the light changed, a woman stepped onto the curb. I studied her form, thick and bent. A honk behind me startled me back to focus, and I drove on, wondering, as the sun began to slide toward the western horzion and the traffic flowed towards home.