A little bit more money came in Saturday. We are on the home stretch. If we can somehow afford food and gas until Friday, we will have made it to another paycheck. You think I’m being a jerk but I’ll tell you, I didn’t think it would even work out this far. But by last Monday I was faithful and I prayed over it and I trusted the law, the dharma, I trusted God, I trusted the Universe to continue to support us and I even started looking forward to what surprises awaited (sorry if you were hoping for something less boring on my part!). For one thing I found out today we have a donor taking care of 1/5th of Hutch’s vet bill. That is wonderful news. Every bit helps a great deal and teaches me the meaning of gratitude and humility. It’s like living on a different kind of fuel. Available to me all day tomorrow, too.
But, I digress. I’m standing now in the bulk food / health food store and all I need is bulk yeast, a little curry powder, cashews. Vegetarian korma. Sorry kids, more goddamn vegetables and rice, because I still cook vegetarian even when I’m baffled on a daily basis as to why I make shit hard on myself. My kids are amazing because they have nothing but humor and grace about it all, the vegetarian thing. They peaceably eat what they choose anywhere else they go and they tell us Thank You for every meal and we laugh about it.
So I’m here now and as I’m collecting my stuff I am aware there is a couple here, an older couple, and they are looking for something specific and the employee is trying to help them find it. The couple has a strong accent and speaks between the two of them a rich, floral language I do not recognize. They are dressed well and kind of have that moneyed, on-vacation air about them. I have OKAY manners today so I don’t stare but I prick my ears because I’m wondering what language it is. The shop employee is having a hard time finding them what they need but whatever they need, it is a bulk item and there isn’t enough, and they’re trying to sort it out.
I finally get what I require and wander down the aisle to see if I can afford honey (and afford the other stuff I need today) and Nope, then I look at the sales, and when I get to the register the couple is across from me and we are both paying. They pull out a card and the shop employee tells them I’m Sorry, We Don’t Take Cards, Just Cash Or Check and I know right away this couple, kind of beleaguered at this point, won’t have the cash or check. The language barrier thing, they are sorting it out but I can see the man – tall, craggy, handsome – and his big bulky shoulders slump, All that effort it’s not going to work out after all.
So because it is one hundred percent logical what should happen I speak up and ask to pay it. I have to shout almost before the clerk hears me interrupting. I say, “Let me pay for it. I’d be happy to. They’ve obviously gone through a lot of trouble.”
Time stands still. The couple, they are getting the gist of what I’m offering but they are in disbelief. The two cashiers are, interestingly, even more uncomfortable. One insists I pay for my purchase separately, and first, before theirs. I’m like, Okay. I pay. The man is gesturing me and he and his wife are thanking me. You’d think it was a lot more cash to lay out than it was.
While the clerk is ringing me up and the confusion is still up in arms the fellow next to me, a smiling man who’d stared at me in the parking lots says, “You could be a Labrador.” I know I’ve heard him right but I’m like, Pardon. He says, “A Labrador.” I say, “Like the dog?” And he says, “Yes. They are wonderful. They are always helping people. They have a great spirit. They are magical.”
Don’t tempt me, I say. I don’t need another dog!
But inside I’m pleased and I’m thinking, I am unsure if I’ve ever heard a better compliment.
Back out into the sunshine which persists (and keeps my windowless car dry) and my faith turns out to have been a smart thing after all.