so, i just turned the heat up, and grateful i can do it on this windy cold night, even though in labrador it will be minus 45 or thereabouts.
still, the minus 13 here feels like ice trying to creep inside my bones. at the end of this long work day in the comedy mines i finally have time to reflect on how today began.
i was in a local tim’s, you know the drill, in the line up for the morning fix. a lovely elderly lady came in and stood behind me, pulling one of those grocery trolleys that elderly ladies have and that we all need. she said to me, i like your hat. thanks, i said. i explained to her that my knitted hat with the pink white and green emblem on the front came from a craft store on the burin peninsula. i then looked at her and said, i like your earrings, referring to her dangling sparkling earrings which resembled little christmas trees filled with bulbs. oh, she said, i got those somewhere ten years ago, i wear them all the time, not just christmas, because it doesn’t matter if i lose them.
she pulled a toonie from out of a little change purse and pressed it into my hand. here, she insisted, i want to buy you a coffee on this cold morning. no, said I, rather stunned, no, why should you, of course not. no. oh yes i am, she said, and insisted i take the toonie. she said, i always say to my son, if i’ve got money you can have it, and if i don’t have any, you’re out of luck. i asked her where she was coming from, thinking it was early to have been grocery shopping or visiting friends, being just past nine a.m.
oh, she says. i just finished my paper route and i’m getting a coffee now to warm my hands while i wait for the bus to take me home. i get up at 5.30 every saturday morning to deliver the paper. what odds about the cold, if it gets too cold and windy i just put my hood up. i gave her a closer look now and saw her gesture to the grocery trolley which had plastic wrapped around it to protect the papers. her slightly worn winter gear, her wispy hair, her change purse with perhaps six or seven toonies inside of it.
i accepted her gift of a coffee and touched her arm on my way out of the tim’s and though she said goodbye i could see her eyes upon the bus stop across the street, perhaps wishing to be home now, perhaps not.
i went on to work and my lame attempts to describe the experience were…well…lame. i felt touched by something mystical and humbling and incredibly sad. tonight i turn up my heat and hope that she can too, where-ever she is.
I write things for people who want to write. I write things for people who have a vision and need the words. I write, therefore I am.
Berni Stapleton, In Conjunction
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