Valentine’s Day means cards, flowers, and of course chocolate. For me, it also meant day three of after-school professional development. It was my turn to start the session off and so I stood in the middle of the room and began by thanking everyone for coming. Teachers were laughing and chatting with each other, so I smiled and waited. Then, all of a sudden a teacher looked at me, opened her eyes wide and shouted, “Jenn, oh my god! You look amazing. I didn’t really notice you there before, but you look awesome!” It was strange. On one hand, it was nice that she noticed, on the other, I felt embarrassed. So, I just smiled and said thank you.
On my way home, I stopped at Walgreens to buy little gifts for my family.
I was rushing as I walked through the aisles of Walgreens. I was on the hunt to get presents quickly so I could get home. I was holding cards and candy when all of a sudden I heard, “I used to write greeting cards.” I looked up to see a very tall older man smiling down at me. He wore glasses with dark thick frames and a grey Breton Cap I could tell that he had a story to tell, and in that moment I could have said something polite and walked away, or I could decide to be present with this stranger.
He told me about how his brother, who has since passed on, would do the illustrations, and that he would write the verses. Being a fellow writer, I said, “Writing is something that never leaves you.” His cheeks dimpled as he smiled and nodded his head in agreement. One of the boxes of chocolate I was holding had a basketball on it. He looked down at the box and said “I used to play baseball. You know, I’ve lost my taste for chocolates since I began chemotherapy. Things taste different now.” He had already survived cancer once. He asked me if I was going out to eat, and then told me how he and his wife had already been to dinner because “Old people like early dinner.” I laughed and said, “I like early dinner too.” Sometimes people just need a connection, at this moment that’s what this man needed, so why not me? I thanked him for sharing his story with me, and then he said, “I really can’t help myself, it’s therapeutic for me.”
I will continue to look for good while facing my awkward moments head on. I am so grateful I’m learning how to be in the world without eating my emotions and that I am making strides towards goal. Thank you for reading.