The last four days I’ve gone to the library every day. It was a place filled with memories of Constance and me. Constance so loved the tots reading classes, the big beautiful book section, the puzzles, the puppets, and the librarians. I have felt so dang proud of myself for overcoming the pain of loss, focusing on the happy memories, and being brave.
While waiting at the library desk for some held items, a man walked up and stood too close to me. I could tell from where he was standing that he wanted my attention. I ignored him and focused on the librarian helping me.
Sensing the shutout, he tapped me and asked, “What does your bag say?” Odd that an illiterate man would be standing in line at a library but we all have to learn someday, so I read it aloud to him, “It says, ’This is the tote bag they are always talking about on public radio.’” “That’s funny, you’re funny,” he replied. “I didn’t write it. The bag came with that on it but it is funny,” I corrected.
Not to be deterred, he continued, “You have a movie star’s face….no, not a movie star’s… a stunning face… no, beauty is in the eye of the beholder… um, so I would say that you have a face that I like or um, don’t mind looking at.” In the course of one long run-on sentence, I went from being a stunning movie star to someone he was willing to look at while waiting in line at the library. That is the entire emotional arch of basically all of my romantic relationships completed over the time it took a librarian to get a hold. I replied, “Thank you,” and quickly rushed out to avoid further critique.
I’m still proud of myself for going to the library without crying for four days in a row. I might even go back tomorrow. I’m stronger than my grief.