I grocery shop at the market down the street from me. On a good day and when my legs don’t hurt, I can walk there. It’s not quite a mile.
The clerks and managers know me. And my kids, who used to tag along since we moved here 21 years ago. A family market that cheers for the Giants, the ‘Niners, or the Warriors and celebrates with us when we buy party foods or cakes and balloons for special occasions and they’ve offered authentic concern during the fire evacuations, making sure we had what we needed. The market is practically my extended family. They know much of what is happening in my life, and I theirs.
This past Valentine’s day the day shift manager, Flynt, caught my eye and waved me over. He reached into his apron pocket and handed me a chocolate heart wrapped in silver foil. “Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said. I accepted the candy, dropping it into my purse.
“And to you and your family,” I said with a smile. Flynt has seen me dolled up on my best days, come straggling to the check out with a cold, or exhausted from a rough day at work. That’s what I mean by family. The best and the worst of it all, yet every time we meet, there is a pleasant exchange of words.
Yesterday, only five weeks since Valentine’s Day, I ventured into the store. I noticed its half-empty shelves and a few nervous customers. Wiping off grocery carts and wearing gloves and masks, caution was primary, yet the moral of the store was upbeat. The store ran out of hand sanitizer and wipes, but I got the food I needed for my family and my elderly mother. When I checked out, the clerks were cheerful and friendly, using gloved hands they carefully handled my items and put them into bags.
On the way out of the store, I spotted Flynt. I went over and said, “Hey.” When he looked my way I offered an elbow bump. We shared in the good humor of the COVID19’s protocol and then shrugged our shoulders with hopes for the best.
Yesterday I was courageous and ventured out to take charge of my essential business, but today, home on a weekday when my husband would normally go to work, I fell apart.
My gut hurt with insecurity and unpreparedness. In fifteen seconds I analyzed my life and wondered what I could have done forty years ago to have better prepared me for this pandemic. Of course, not a God Damn thing. But I had to find a way to cope. I had to run my life through the wringer and cry and confess how inadequate I’d become. My husband took me into his strong arms, pulled my face into his chest, and held me.
Last year, he would have left the room. He would not have been able to handle my tears. He’d have found an excuse to leave me alone. I would have resented him for abandoning me when I needed him. But last year we did a lot of work. He understands that when I am upset, it isn’t always with him, but he used to jump on the side of defense anyway. We worked through that crap and I get upset less, yet when I do, he stays to hug me. Maybe it’s some fo the best work we’d done in a decade.
This afternoon, I partook in “social distancing” by hiding out in my office to write about my feelings. That’s when I noticed the silver foiled heart. It is literally placed at the center of my desk. I can’t help but wonder if that was intuitive. My belief continues to flow–all the world is centered around love. How we love one another, ourselves, families, our communities, and our neighbors. Especially our grocery store workers doing their best to maintain a sense of normalcy during the COVID19 Pandemic of 2020.
With deep gratitude and abundant love, I wish you well.
Please share what your thoughts are during these times. I confessed that I’m only human, so let me hear from you!
Purell Hugs to you!