Unexpected Request

I receive a request from someone I knew a long time ago asking me to do something for her. The request baffles me.

At the end of the day, reading The Dakota Towers with a purring car and the 13-year-olds whispering in the next room still deep in what they see as interminably long childhood, I suddenly realize what I want is an apology from this woman.

There it is, the utter inability of us humans (willful? not willful?) to understand each other. My cat, satisfied and sleepy, immeasurably wise — and happy — yawns and tucks his head against my shoulder.

Words matter. Actions matter.

Staring at the ceiling, I remember so many years ago, driving in Maine — lost as usual on Maine roads — delivering wedding favors I had made from our maple syrup. August, and my 2-year-old in the backseat was thirsty since we had run out of water.

But I hadn’t been lost after all. The pine-flanked twisting road ended at a lake and a wooden inn. I found the mother of the bride on the veranda with her friends. She admired my sweaty 2-year-old in my arms and offered us ice water and crackers in the shape of butterflies. My daughter was enchanted. I’ve never forgotten the stranger’s kindnesss.

Let’s go out
To see the snow view
Where we slip and fall.

— Basho


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