I dislike February. It’s the one month in the year when I’m almost always sick. I hang on through Christmas, the January blahs, and even got into February, barely, this year. But here I am. Sinuses stuffed and left ear clogged, as usual, and feeling all woebegone. Poor me.
So, yesterday, being rather sick of my whiney self, I thought it was time to get out of the dull and suffocating house. A little trip to the dollar store should do it. Probably they’d just stocked all kinds of cutesy spring gee gaws I didn’t need and I wanted to see what they were.
I found two greeting cards and a container of disinfecting wipes and headed for the checkout. No cutesy gee gaws but now I could go home and wipe all the germs from the countertops and pen a note or two. Big whoop. Still not loving life. Sniff.
And then . . .
On my way out of the store I saw you.
You’d just gotten out of your car and made your way to the curb. You stopped there and attempted to step up, but your knee wasn’t cooperating, I could tell. You tried to reach for the pillar that sat a ways in on the sidewalk, but couldn’t reach that, either. There you tottered, back and forth, trying to make it all work.
It took me about ten seconds to zip over and offer you my hand. Then I noticed how neatly you’d prepared youself for your foray out into the world. Every gray hair in place, a pretty scarf at your neck, elegant long coat, and leather gloves. Lipstick even. I smiled.
“Oh, thank you,” you said, smiling back. “I just can’t get my knee to work sometimes. It’s arthritis.”
You stepped up easily now and I held your hand until you felt steady. “I know what you mean,” I said. “I have arthritis in my hips.”
Up close you looked to be about eighty and one of your eyes was red-rimmed. “It’s just the way it is,” you chuckled. And then you looked at me, “For me, that is, not you.”
Perhaps to you I looked young or maybe “young-ish.” Little did you know how horribly haggard and old I’d felt all week. And you couldn’t possibly have guessed what our brief meeting meant to me just then. I was taken out of myself for a few minutes and very glad to be away from whiney me.
Right before you continued on your way into the store you said, “I guess it could be worse.”
“Yup,” I said. But suddenly I was feeling much better and marveled at how an encounter of only a few minutes right there on the sidewalk in front of the Friendly Dollar Store turned my grumpies away. Because of you my day was brighter.
And so I’d like to say:
Image: David Castillo Dominici Free Digital Photos