Since I remain unemployed, I spend some time engaged in a myriad of house duties, such as making the rounds to the local shops.
I deposited a piddling check and wended my way to Stop & Shop, to return a jar of almond butter and a bag of almonds. I found the same two items at Ocean State Job Lot, and they were both infinitely cheaper.
In the parking lot, I texted my Beloved, locked the car, and only after shutting the door did I realize I had left the keys inside. The single word ‘Darn!’ came to mind.
I went inside, exchanged the two items for cash and as I was walking to my car, I heard my name called. It was my mum.
“Oh, I saw you and I just wanted to give you a hug!” she said. Which was certainly nice. She then told me she was doing her neighbor a favor, taking her to the store since her car had unexpectedly died. Since my mum was visibly harried and windblown, I elected to not apprise her of my predicament. I was in a quandary, certainly, as I had to get home in time for my son to get off the bus. But since mum was in disarray and perturbed, I didn’t want to put her out further and ask for a ride home.
We hugged again. I watched her hobble to her car, where her neighbor waited. I then ran home.
It was only two miles away and I managed to make it within 300 yards before I saw the bus pull up to our driveway. My son got off, the bus departed, and I made a sprint to the finish line.
Winded, I told my son of my dilemma. I fetched him some chocolate milk and a blue Tootsie Pop, hopped on my bike, and pedaled back to the shopping plaza.
Along my journey I thought about mum, of how frazzled she would have been if I had asked her for a ride home. Just watching her limp to her car had convinced me.
‘That was a good call, Paulie’, I thought to myself. I didn’t want to put her out but more importantly, I did not want my situation to become fodder for future conversations with family members.
I got to the store in one piece, plopped my bike in the trunk, and returned home. At the very least, I got in some good exercise. It was a nice fall day and out of the blue I got a hug from mum.
And sometimes that in itself can make things better.