I went to the doctor's today, just to get a new prescription for orthopedic shoes. It was cold and rainy, and I was glad to find parking and get inside without falling down. I signed in and took a seat.
Across from me, a pleasant woman maybe a decade older than me spoke in soft Tejano accents with a man near my age. Their level of ease with each other indicated they were family. The man was called in for his visit and after he left, the woman looked at me and smiled like she had something she just had to say.
"Are you here to see the doctor?"
"Yes, just to get a prescription."
"You are so lovely. You look very good."
Well! Well! Now, that's a good start to anyone's day!
A bit embarrassed, I thanked her and asked how her Christmas had been. "Oh, very nice." She was visiting her niece, she told me. I asked where she had come in from. Laredo. I said I hoped she'd flown, because it is too long a drive.
"And how was your Christmas?" she asked, turning the subject back to me.
"Good. I spent it with my daughter and son-in-law."
A moment's pause.
"Are you a widow?"
I suppose I looked confused, so she repeated herself, and I realized I just hadn't accounted for her accent. A widow.
"No, just divorced for many years. Are you widowed, then?"
Yes, she told me, eight years now. Her eyes focused on an inner place of her heart.
"It was a freak accident, the day before Thanksgiving. My husband was diabetic."
"A car accident?" I was thinking of the diabetics I have known who have misjudged their sugar level and had serious, though fortunately, not fatal, accidents.
"No. We were at home. I was busy in another part of the house. He was painting the bathroom. Somehow, he fell. He must have hit his head, and he cut himself badly. By the time I came to check on him, he had bled to death."
She smiled. "I get through the days because I know he waits for me. I look forward to when we are together again."
Her family member came out and sat down, apparently needing to wait for his shot to take effect and preferring the drafty reception room and the company of his aunt to the sterility of the examination room.
"Until then, I must live everyday."
"Because that's what he would want for you, to live fully?"
"Yes." She looked at the man beside her, and smiled. I'd say she beamed with love, but that would give the impression that she wasn't beaming with love before. You could tell, from her despairing heart, she pours her love into those around her.
You know what? She was so lovely.
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