Trouble breathing this cold gray Valentine’s Day. It’s impossible to love everyone, or anyone, enough.
Went to the bank to get quarters for the Laundromat. Friends’ husbands had given them flowers for Valentine’s. Roses and lilies and wildflowers. I felt glad for my friends and for getting to see the flowers. Flowers never grow routine.
Drove to the coin laundry and put all the clothes in and started reading “Saving Grace” by Lee Smith, who is one of the best writers in the nation, maybe the world. Read this book or anything by Lee Smith if you can.
Saw a woman around 30 years old with black hair, black as a blackbird, doing her laundry. She had a small teardrop with a light-colored center tattooed just below her right eye. She said she and a friend did the tattoo themselves with a needle and black ink when she was 13 years old. The woman told me she put the teardrop there because she loves her Dad, but he went somewhere. She wants the tattoo off her face now, but can’t afford it. She said she still loves her dad.
A tall young man dressed in black and gray with a rhinestone in his left ear brought in his laundry with his friend. She sat at a laptop playing solitaire while he put the clothes in machines. He had just enough quarters but not enough.
He put out his hand and said, “Do you have enough quarters for these nickels?”
“Sure. Just take the quarter.”
“No,” he said. “I wouldn’t feel right.”
“Did you hear about that woman dying?” He was talking about Whitney Houston. We talked about Whitney Houston’s magnificent voice.
“People can be rich, but feel poor inside,” the young man observed.
He told me about having Crohn’s Disease and how all the medications damaged his heart. He pulled his knit shirt just a little and showed me the purple scar where doctors had cut him open to give him a pacemaker. He has to have another surgery next week.
My clothes got dry and I started loading them in the car. We need to pray for hearts.
When I pushed open the glass door, the young man with the broken heart leaned just so softly over his friend’s shoulder and said, “What are you worried about, sweetheart?” I heard him calling tech services. He never raised his voice.