I pulled into the parking lot at Trader Joe's yesterday afternoon with about three minutes to accomplish my errands, when I suddenly realized my purse was not in the car. Not in the car? But we were out of milk and Caroline's cello lesson was starting in forty minutes! How dare a purse go missing under such circumstances?!
So I went into denial search mode, wherein you scour the same nooks and crannies repeatedly in case the universe tires out and consents to manifest your will...just this once. But as fate would have it, the planets were in no mood to align: the purse was at home on the kitchen table where I'd walked right by as I was rushing out the door.
But wait! There was a ten dollar bill in my pocket! How it got there, I'll never know. This much was certain, however: we were out of milk and Caroline's cello lesson was starting in thirty-five minutes.
So I ran into the store and mentally calculated some of the other necessities which were lacking in our home. Milk, duly noted. Bread. Eggs. Bananas. What about cheese? Mental math has never been my strong suit, but I was vaguely convinced I had enough money to cover the contents of my basket. Just to make sure, however, I explained my situation to the cashier and asked her to subtotal everything before including the cheese with my purchase. She did so and, deeming the amount low enough, reached for the cheese and ran it through the scanner.
$10.61, dear reader.
I had ten dollars.
So of course I asked the cashier to subtract the cheese from the total, but instead she called for a manager, suggesting an arrangement could be made. And while she waited for a manager, she began patting her own pockets, insisting she had enough money to cover the difference. And during this time I was trying to assure her it was unnecessary, that I would return tomorrow and finish my shopping when suddenly, someone touched my shoulder. I turned around and...get ready for this, dear reader:
It was a little old man.
Only he wasn't very little. He was actually taller than me. He had eyes the color of the Mediterranean and a shirt that was every bit as blue. His skin was tanned and the fringe of hair around his head was pure, heavenly white. In his hand he held the crispest dollar bill I'd ever seen.
He smiled at me. I stared at him.
"Here you go, my dear, I'd like to help," he said.
And I'm not kidding, dear reader, for one scary moment my eyes started to sting.
Thank goodness for the battle brewing between the store manager, the cashier, my useless protests, this darling man, and the lady behind him who kept exclaiming that forgetting one's purse happens to everyone, dearie. We all do it once in awhile.
In the end, it was Trader Joe's who won out. They covered the extra cost and assured me there was no need to reimburse (even though I will). The cashier told me I was a good customer. I reached out and touched the old man. I actually caressed his arm. The lady behind him kept telling me not to worry, these things happen. And I left the store in time to get Caroline to her lesson.
I don't know. What is that, dear reader? Is that like the universe picking you up, putting you on its lap, and wrapping its arms around you, all the while telling you what a good girl you've been, and that everything is going to be all right?