I was sitting waiting for a prescription to be filled, my instructions a piece of typed paper on my knee that I checked from time to time, my cloudweight of lace in my hands. An elderly woman (Chinese?) was silently entertaining herself in her nearby seat by watching me knit. I rather wished I had spare yarn and needles there to offer to share with her.
I looked up from time to time and smiled and nodded hello; she smiled back. I held the glance for just a moment the next time, trying to give her permission to speak up if she wanted to.
She simply smiled back. I went on with what I was doing.
And then I went fishing through my purse, crossed out the ( and the ) and the word twice and scribbled in what it should have read there, tweaking the pattern.
And suddenly noticed the woman was startled, staring, perhaps even a bit distressed.
Was it that I wrote on the page? That I was making it up as I was going along? (I partly was.) I wasn’t sticking to the script! I *wrote* over the instructions!
At that point I really would have loved to have had a conversation, to have found out where she was coming from, what stories were behind those eyes, what they had seen, but for whatever reason, be it language differences or simply the ongoing quiet, the words didn’t break through. Goodness, honey, I didn’t mean to bother… I mean… Too funny. Huh.
I smiled I hoped encouragingly and knitted on, and she settled back into watching me do so. We went back to as we were.
Then the pharmacist called my name, I tucked it all away, and that was that.
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