Receipt in a Box

<a href=””>The Outsiders</a>

During my brief visit to Maryland, I took the time to walk up and down my street.  Just to see if anything had really changed in the months since I had been back.  The houses looked the same, the people as well.  I don’t know how the timing worked, but the woman who is always seeming to be running when I’m out came up from behind me and gave me a big hug.  It was enough to make my 15 year old guardian look cross-eyed at me.

The entire time I was waiting for something bad to happen.  I had made a point of sitting in the car when people ran into the store to grab some food.  No way was I going to expose myself to rumors and speculation about how I was or even that I was in the state.  My biggest fear was that I’d end up in the hospital while here and not able to leave for some time.  That would have been difficult for me to accept.

But as I sat there I kept staring at this coffee shop.  It changed ownership last Fall and is no longer the place I remember with such fondness.  The decor is basically the same, just new faces.  But I kept remembering this time when it was such a focal point that I got lost in the memory.

One day I had been going to dinner with my mother.  She had an hairdresser’s appointment beforehand, so I just drove over and was going to wait.  But as we rounded the corner, I saw the figure of someone I needed to chase after.  I dropped my mom off and told her to just call my cell when she was done and I would come back.

I raced over in order to make sure I didn’t miss her.  Of all the places to run into her, this coffee shop was not even on the radar.  But there, standing in line was the woman who would eventually mean everything, or at least until the point where things went in separate directions.  It was just one of those bright, sunny days and the conversation was nice.  It was still that feeling out process in a relationship, so there was always lots of questions followed by carefully constructed answers.

Anyway, Sunday as I sat there waiting for Kathy and Susie to finish picking up breakfast, my mind kept watching each person walk in.  Trying to capture if they were just customers for a minute or whether they were going to relax with a cup and a book.

A couple of kids walking in with backpacks, an elderly couple who looked like they had just come from church, and a guy in sweats that were still soaked from whatever the exercise routine of the day had been.  I envied each of them.  Looking out on a world I recall so vividly, with such emotional attachment, I felt like everything was just pages in a story.

Susie ran back and wanted to know if I wanted anything else while we were here.  The house was pretty bare of food staples and there was no point in replenishing when we were outbound Monday morning.  But she kept looking at me and eventually asked, “Hey, is that the place you were telling me about.  Where it all really began?”

“Yes.  It’s not the same, but the feelings are there still attached to it.  Let’s just finish and get back.  There’s something I want to show you before we leave for the birthday party.”

In a box at home is the receipt from that chai tea latte.  The ex had her drink by the time I even got to the door.  Susie just put it back in the box and place it back on a shelf.  She understood.  All those teenage books she reads, all those silly television shows, everything she knew about her own expanding world was brought home in that moment.  What she had read in a diary of another was now more a reality than before.  She understood a little better why I find it so hard to come home.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s