I spent four hours in the car today: it was almost like having kids in soccer and music lessons and track and basketball again.
And one of the things that I had to do was go to the post office. But after the first three hours–drop Richard off at a routine doctor appointment, sit in rush hour traffic, drop John off at the airport, sit in rush hour traffic, pick Richard up, drop him off at work–I just wanted to sit and put my feet up a minute before going out again.
Which I did. And then picked up my purse, ready to go… And found myself putting it back down again, wondering at myself.
I swatched some yarn I’d been thinking of playing with as a carry-around project.
I did some laundry. I puttered, the house feeling very quiet.
I looked at the clock again and wondered, what is my problem here? Come ON.
And yet it still took me another ten minutes to pick up that purse again and get back out that door.
And that is why I was leaving the post office just as Earl was coming in–one half minute earlier and I’d have missed him.
His daughter went to kindergarten on up with my Sam; we’ve known each other a long time. And about once every year or two we run into each other, usually at that post office.
I was not there the time he suddenly fell to the floor in front of those postal clerks and woke up–and was very, very lucky to wake up–in the cardiac unit at Stanford. Another dad we knew from back-in-the-school-day, likewise an African American man in his 60’s, was not so fortunate.
Earl looked older now than I wanted him to, and thin. He asked after each member of my family and after my health and I after his, rejoicing.
There was the unspoken, I’m so glad to see you’re still alive.
There was the unspoken, You’re still here and so I’m going to be, too. We have to do this again. And again and again and again.
And so we do.
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