Gray day. The air itself was wet.
One intersection from Starbucks and my appointment with the writing table, wife Kathy’s guitar ringtone strummed. “John Coleman, where is that Pampered Chef stuff?” She spoke of a baking sheet and hell-I-don’t-know-a spatula that her friend would be picking up soon. Due to a recent, understandable case of what we call ping brain, she forgets and occasionally slides off the rails. When you’re moving from big house to small, as we are now, the cranium can get crowded.
“Uh, here in the truck behind my seat.”
“Where are you?”
“Turning into Starbucks. But I can run it down to you.” (“And lose half my writing time,” I thought, but didn’t say.)
“Ooh, by Starbucks? Maybe you could bring me a venti chai tea latte?”
“Sure.” (“Make that 2/3 of my writing time.”)
“Okay, thank you, John Coleman!”
In I went, ordered the tea and talked to a couple of friends, then headed north on I-79 to the Regional Cancer Center.
And that’s when my napper’s way took over. A nap or siesta generally involves down time in the afternoon–pretty simple. But the napper’s way is round-the-clock: in the midst of activity, obligation, and distraction, you stop. “Peace, be still.”
The Mazda 4X4 was exceeding the speed limit, but the driver’s spirit-mind pulled to the berm. A couple nights ago I scratched loose one of Kathy’s old scabs (most wives and husbands have them, I suppose), and she forgave far more quickly than I did myself.
Breathe. Nap while fully awake. Oh, bars of my soul, open, open. What’s worth upset? What deserves anything other than a smile and no worries? And for those in love, what response is better than a kiss?
Salting old wounds or inflicting new ones calls for a cold shoulder, maybe worse, but losing a hundred words for my wife’s sake is of no account. The inconvenience is a single hiccough. It’s a sweat bee brushed out the car window.
So I delivered the tea, baking sheet, and whatever-the hell. One of Kathy’s officemates laughed: “She just wanted you to bring her a Starbucks.”
On the way to the exit, Kathy said, “I’m sorry. I put the stuff on the seat so I wouldn’t forget.”
“Oh, you mean the seat you were sitting on?”
“Yeah, that one.”
We smiled–at her ping brain and my frailty and at love on a cloudy day–and leaned into each other. “Be in touch,” I said.
Then I landed here at Starbucks, where Kathy’s email chimed: “Thank you, my dear. Love you.”
No, my dear. Thank you.