At the bookstore, armed with a cup of hairy eyelid peeling cup of “coffee” I began browsing the magazines. I decided to skip current events and economics and was faced with the two-tier section of women’s magazines. Onto the next shelf which was a mix of computer related, gamers, and music magazines. I took another cautious sip of the dark black stomach blistering brew and decided my strategy was a failure when a quick scan of the last shelf of magazines was for collectors, history, sewing, quilting, self-help, and spiritual. Turning around and surveying the store did not prompt me with fodder for a new plan. Any idea what I did? I dumped the horrible black liquid in the nearest garbage can and left the store.
Remember when you were a kid, a teenager? Yeah I bristled at the thought too. As tough as it was we have to admit some things were easier. For example, dating or “going out”. Really it was. Think about it, generally it was accepted as norm that any relationship with someone would ultimately end. Yeah it was grief at times and yes it would hurt but you were not really shocked as you are as an adult that changes for most people once the date progressed to a few dates then it was accepted by both parties – usually – that the relationship is expected to grow, develop, and hopefully lead to the happy ending. That is an awful lot of pressure if you ask me (which I did). Of course commentators, talking heads in media, Hollywood consistently project the 50%+ divorce which is no “big thing”, “take him for everything you can” and remember guys always have commitment issues. But I digress……
Observation is more than seeing, just like listening is more than hearing. I had been picking up my groceries from the same store for five years. For some reason though “that” day was the first time I saw, noticed her. She was not from “here”, she came “here” with her parents seven years ago after graduating from school in the Ukraine. Her name tag was labeled ‘Tessa’ and she spoke fluent English with her Ukrainian accent and her beautiful smile. The store had three checkout lanes and either fate or subconsciously I chose to be in her lane. We spoke, she is always nice, and I apparently oblivious to her – until now. Now – it was if the heavens had opened and bathed her in light with a full symphony accompanying this moment with music. My pulse increased to the rhythm of a Neil Peart solo, I apparently swallowed my tongue because I was aware of two things: a large lump in my throat and the excess saliva filling my mouth. I could not utter a dry sound. My psyche reacted by yelling “composure”, “panic”, “flee” and other conflicting actions so overwhelming I stumbled out of the lane trying to act like I forgot an item [not just my faculties] and fled to a distant aisle to regain my composure. I was a mess and acutely aware of it. I noticed my clothes, my shoes, the contents of my cart, my watch, I noticed everything for what it told someone who would actually see me. But then I cautiously sneaked a peek of Tessa and a smile slowly worked across my face.