If the term, “hell on wheels” could be exemplified in a human form, I think it would be this lady. She was probably in her early 80’s; barely five feet tall and maybe weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. Her face and hands told a story that perhaps she’s had a hard life. The wrinkles around her eyes when she smiled also told of a woman who wasn’t a stranger to happiness. I don’t know her name. I probably never will.
I had stopped to get a cup of coffee (I take mine black, like my soul) before my shift started at my second job. I had about 30 minutes to kill so I sat down in the back of the shop just to think and clear my head.
“Do you love him, honey?” she said as she plopped down at the empty chair at my table.
She had startled the crap outta me.
“Pardon?” was all I could manage.
“Honey, it’s a simple yes or no question. Do you love him?”
I had to have looked at this women like she had completely lost her mind because let’s be honest, I thought she may have been off her meds.
“I guess I don’t understand the question.” I said.
“I’ve been watching you since you walked in here.” She countered, “I’ve seen that look before. I’ve worn that look before. There are two looks on a woman’s face that only a man can be responsible for: a smile bigger than a Buick and this furrowed eye brow thing you’ve got going on here. If you don’t love him, you at least care a whole lot about him. People that we don’t care about don’t possess that kind of power over us.”
This is the second time in two weeks that I have encountered Ghandi reincarnated as an elderly woman rocking a four-wheeled walker.
I am now just resigned to the fact that I am also going to meet eccentric people in eccentric places that say eccentric things and that’s just how it’s gonna be.
She just stared at me with her arms crossed, as if to dare me not to answer her.
“I guess I don’t know how I feel” was all I replied because quite honestly, this was a complete stranger.
“My advice to you, young lady, is to talk to him. What ever he did, whatever you did, communication is what is going to make or break you. You've got to communicate. Without put downs, without yelling. Back and forth conversation. Maybe this man will be in your life forever; maybe just a short time. Maybe he is just an adventure. Maybe a lesson. If you think there is a chance that he might be worth it, you have got to fight like hell. If not walk away right now and smile for what it was. But, honey, trust me, you are solving absolutely nothing by glaring at that coffee. Remember that.”
Quickly changing the subject, because, frankly, that’s a whole lot to process. I asked her about her family. She told me about her kids and grandkids. She told me about her late husband. All with this happiness that even now I can’t really put in to words.
She asked about my family. I gave her the simplified version. Not wanting to be one of those people that just talks about themselves. I tried to ask more about her but she would have none of that. She insisted that I tell her more about my family. I toId her that my mom and dad are probably my two favorite people ever. I shared with her that my greatest fear on this earth would be to disappoint either of them. That I hope they will always be proud of me and that they respect my decisions even if they don’t always understand them.
She reached across the table and grabbed my hand and said, “Oh, honey, daddy’s aren’t supposed to like the men we choose. It’s their job not to.”
Alright, Teresa Caputo, what the hell is going on?Unfortunately, I had to cut this conversation short so I could get to work. I apologized for having to leave so abruptly and thanked her. She stood and hugged me.
“Honey, you will figure it out or it will figure itself out,” she shouted as I walked out the door.
Every path we cross is for a reason.
God bless that crazy, beautiful, wise woman.