I was just in the grocery store, buying paprika and chili powder. It was my second time in this store in less than an hour. Most of the cashiers are wonderful in this place, the kind of women (why always women on cash? Another chat for another day, maybe) who notice you’re there for the second time.
“You, again! You can’t get enough of us!”
I was next in line and had my paprika and chili powder on the conveyor belt thing when I heard a man yelling, “Hey! Heyyyyy! HEY!!!!!!!” By the third hey, it was LOUD.
I turned around and saw Robert running toward me.
Robert was a patient in my clinic when I had a clinic. This means I haven’t seen him in almost three years. Robert is intellectually challenged or whatever the inadequate terminology is now. He processes the world in a different way than what the experts call normal. And his life, because of this, is challenging in different ways than mine.
He’s a big, beautiful hunk of human flesh and he was running toward me with three years worth of enthusiasm.
When he smacked into me and wrapped his arms around me I started crying and saying, you’re so beautiful, you’re sooooo beautiful, and he yelled, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.
That was it for dialogue, but we were at it for about five minutes. Then he just put me back down on the floor and walked away.
I was felled by it, the way anyone would be, seeing a long lost love. I wasn’t wailing at this point, but there was still a steady flow of salt water falling down my face.
The young woman at the cash, who could not possibly have missed this whole thing, said, while looking over my shoulder, “Excuse me, do you need bags?”
“Do you need bags?”
Oh, man, it made me sad.
Here’s what I want to say to her.
Honey, you just witnessed two people being felled by love right in front of you. Do not hold your doors closed. It will kill something in you and in us if you stay closed.
It’s also very likely that the next person in line has been felled by fear (of the price of these groceries, for instance, or of cancer or of the pressure at work) or loneliness or delicious lust or gratitude or some other force.
What a crime not to open the doors of your gorgeous self and be with us. Sad for us and sad for you.
What, you think your job is ringing up the price of paprika?
Honey, your job is to be in Love with us. The paprika, the cash register, and your bright green uniform are props. They are excuses to practice knowing who you are.
Love and openness are your real job.
That’s what I want to say to her. She was too beautiful – we all are – to forget this.
Let’s be felled together. Just falling over with love all day long. Why not?????
Thanks to all the free and not-yet-completely-free cashiers out there, and to beautiful Robert.
And thanks to you for the conversation.