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Thankful Thursday (on Friday)

Eating Sweets in a Bathroom Stall

The stranger has wet herself. She tips her head close to yours.

You just want to shop, buy vegetables for dinner, some sort of meat. You don’t have time. It’s late, or early, your list is long. You’re wearing the good skirt, the one that skims the waist, slims your legs. But there’s her dress, now sopping. She’s bunching the fabric, trying to hide the accident, and this small dank space smells like a pen of untrained puppies.

You must be an angel, she says.

You’re no angel. You’re removed, mysteriously lifted from the stench of spreading urine. You banter, a light voice over her heavy motorized cart as you hoist her hips and raise the dress from fleshy legs. You’re talking over the shame you both feel.

Will you open this diaper, she asks. You rip the package, and help her in. Her ankles are thick, her socks wet. Where pity, shock or sorrow should be, you feel absence. You wipe her legs, the seat of her cart.

She’s not crying, not yet. But she’s breathing hard as she palms an inhaler, the same kind you carry in your purse. When I get upset, she says, dragging long on a small puff. It's then you crumble. She is you. This will be you. This may already be you.

Everything moves slow in this confessional. It takes four turns to maneuver the cart out of the stall. At the sink, you wash away secrets. At the door, she stops, reaches in her basket, says, Let’s have a snack. You don’t want to eat sweets in a dirty grocery store bathroom.

You feel sick. You hesitate. But it’s all she has to give, so you say, Please let me help you open that. This gesture, this simple fix,
it’s all you have, too.

- Drew Myron


It's Thankful Thursday.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Praise.
Please join me in a weekly pause
to appreciate people, places & things.

What are you thankful for today?

Reader Comments (11)

Drew, this is an amazingly beautiful and poignant post. One to be read with tears, and gulps of breath, and yearning for a stranger to be well.

Thank you for lifting your readers today.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAuburn McCanta

WOW! I'm thankful you were there--and so conscious and present for her. Blessings to you, dear one.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

You are a really wonderful person.

I'm thankful for my husband. Again and again and again.

I'm thankful for my dance partner.

I'm thankful for free apps that block unwanted calls.

And really cool coworkers. And happy hour. And pizza.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson

What a beautiful lesson in caring and dignity by telling it like it is and telling it in that unique voice!

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJo Jo Russell

Thank you Auburn, Jeanne, Allyson and Jo Jo. Your feedback means a lot to me. Thanks so much!

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

I'm thankful that you were there, with the woman in this post. You are so kind.

I'm so thankful for the good vibes floating around in the world this week.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah Stephenson

Thank you Hannah.
I agree, floating good vibes are worthy of thankfulness.
Thanks for stopping in.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Drew, this is so beautiful and so refreshing. Thank you for sharing this.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue Fagalde Lick

So nice to see you here.
Thanks for the kind words, and for stopping by.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Drew, You brought tears to my eyes. For some reason I could smell our Grandma's lavender scent. You are an angel my sister-friend.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercindi

Thank you favorite sister Cindi.
Such a nice surprise to 'see' you here.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

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