I did something I am – upon reflection – ashamed about. I want to tell you about it… but first, must tell you what got me to that point.
It’s been gloomy. No sunshine, no clear skies, no crisp air to breathe for this asthmatic who tends towards migraines. The air is so moist you have to squeegee your windows to drive in the morning… which, yeah, I had to do this morning. I had to take my “big gun” meds for my head, too, and felt a little like I was breathing through a wet dish cloth.
I try to put on a brave face. Well, duh. Of course, since I’m an adult and adults are expected to do certain things like show up to work and smile and crap. So, I did that.
Half way through the day, I thought of my friend Debbie, who died earlier this year. I was sitting at my desk doing work stuff, obviously (see paragraph above) and my eyes filled with tears. My nose got runny. My stomach dropped.
She’s actually dead. I can’t believe it.
I got up from my desk to take a quick bathroom break and pull myself together.
So, yeah. That’s the kind of day it was.
As I headed home, I decided to stop at my favorite thrift store to look at books. It’s been over a week since I’ve been there and no telling what treasures have been donated, right?
The parking lot was packed. I had to park way over heck-and-gone and walk. The store was busy (duh, the parking lot might have given a hint. Ya think?). I looked at the wall of books and for once, there were very, very few that I needed and/or wanted. Like two, three tops.
There’s a long table, like kids use in a cafeteria, at the front of the store with boxes filled with books. It’s actually almost-always in the way but even worse today because clothing on sale was hanging on those rolling metal thingies which left only enough room for one person to squeeze in and look at either the books or the clothing.
As it turns out… I was looking at the books and a woman I don’t know was looking at the clothing. When a body meets a body (I’m humming)… what do we do?
We conduct an experiment. Of course. (Rolling my eyes) And this is where it gets… oh, I don’t know… icky.
She wasn’t moving. I wasn’t moving. She still wasn’t moving. Neither was I.
I stood still and looked at her. She did not look back. I bored my eyes into her head. She did not look. I decided to try a little experiment: I screamed silently in my head, while looking at her and sending the loudest crappy juju I could muster:
Look dumbass, get the eff-word out of my way!
She looked up.
I looked away.
She said, “Oh, clearly I am in your way. Let me move.” And that’s what she did.
I fumbled and stumbled and moved to the other side, saying through an uncomfortable giggle-kinda-thingy: Oh, that’s okay. Sorry, I was in your way.
She looked at me. I mean – she looked right into me.
She knew. She heard me. I know she did!
Why did I do that? I wasn’t in a hurry. I had no place to be. I’m normally a very kind person. I hold myself up as … uh…
Is it possible I’m not as kind as I thought?
Ya THINK, dumbass? <<< And by that, I mean ME.
As I drove home, I thought of the encounter and was very embarrassed and ashamed. I purposely put bad juju out there as some kind of weird experiment. What did I learn?
What you put out there comes back to you? Check.
I’m not the only intuitive empath out there? Check.
I can be a real bitch? Check.
And I thought of Debbie, who was the epitome of kindness. I’d known her for thirty years and she introduced me to my first husband. When we divorced and I moved to Canada, she was part of the collateral damage. It took a few years to find each other again and when we did, she went out of her way to keep close. She made me jewelry and sent her famous Christmas photos every year. She and her dogs. In her cowboy boots and hat, usually. She was a character. She came to my youngest daughter’s wedding and said something I took all wrong. God only knows how it happened, but it created a fissure that took time to heal. And then she was dying. She once said that I kept her alive because I cared enough to keep in touch. I was incredibly unworthy. She was the hero. She handled her diagnosis and what happened after with grace and aplomb. Two days before she died, I got to talk to her on the phone for the first time in ages.
Why hadn’t we talked more? Why hadn’t I called? I hate the phone. So effing-what?
“I love you,” I said.
“I love you, too,” she said, though her voice was barely higher than a whisper.
Two days later, she was gone.
I am so far away, I couldn’t go to her funeral. Just as I couldn’t go to other important funerals before hers.
And what does this have to do with anything?
It has to do with the experiment.
Because my grief (and possibly also my guilt and shame) was the foundation for my anger. Anger is a secondary emotion. Once you truly learn and accept that, you just know.
So, I’m getting off this computer and sitting with my grief for a while. My friend Debbie was a very special person who deserved a better friend than I was. I hope heaven is real and she knows my heart. Because it’s breaking for her today.
Her photo is the one featured today. She was beautiful, inside and out.