Cherries with a Whiff of Death.

My wife does most of the grocery shopping because I am either too depressed or too creative to go out. In the first instance I just don’t feel like talking to anyone, and in the second I’m too busy running around with a net trying to catch all the words tumbling out of my brain.

So the outer world for me is a real push-pull deal. On one hand, I know I need to get out and interact with other human beings (I sometimes go for days without ever leaving my apartment). On the other hand, such interactions more often than not  remind me that I am a dog in a roomful of cats, a rabbit among wolves.

Besides, when I do get out I find new concerns to get depressed about. Why? Because someone I care for is hurting, and that makes me hurt. This happened the other day when I went to the grocery store. You can shop at a lot of places, so I shop where I get along with the people, right? Just like you do.

So there’s a woman who supervises the front end of the store where I shop. She’s so gay; I just love her so. She gets my sense of humor and always makes me laugh.

She’s not tall and she’s not big, so I’d say she’s just above petit. Neither is she a stroller: her walk is more of a diddy-bop with a dash of bounce in it. I’ll bet she’s a great dancer.

Quick to smile and take a joke, she’s got a round face suggesting Cancerian underpinnings. Her straight hair comes down just below her ears and over the back of her neck, and I’d say she’s around 50.

Her hair … that’s how the repartee between her and me got started about three years ago when I began shopping there. You see, she puts a streak of color in it. Constantly. So I got to saying to her when I shopped: “What color is your hair today,” and it would be pink, but blue tomorrow and purple the next.

From hair color it was easy for me to slip into my shtick about how I’m imprisoned in the basement each day by my horrible wife (whom she can plainly see checking out with our groceries), only to be let up for supper IF I’ve hit my quota of writing pages for the day.

And she says “Well, you must be a very bad boy.”

The nerve of that woman!

So the other day I was talking with her and she asked me how long my wife, Sandy, and I have been married. More than forty years, I replied. And she looked over at Sandy checking out at the register, then back at me, put on a sad face and said: “I feel so sorry for Sandy.”

I flared in mock outrage. My great golden dragon eyes blazed like dual suns, almost setting her on fire. “I am going to get you for that!” I cried.

I just love her so. Have I told you that? She is one of the few who “get” me.

So I went to buy a few things the other day and the new front-end supervisor told me my friend was in the hospital with her 11-year-old granddaughter who just had a brain operation, one of many. No!

I felt so sad leaving. And of course later, at home, my mind drifted to her as I ate some of the cherries I’d purchased. And they were delicious. I therefore couldn’t help but think that life can be sweet, but bitter, too.


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