Evening reflections under a clear sky

The night air hangs crisply around me as I sit on a cold stone bench listening to the marching band.

I can see every star and that amazes me since we are in town— light pollution everywhere.

I am thoroughly exhausted. I do get scared. But I still feel, even through this lonely melancholy, so much hope and thankfulness.

It’s a hard world out there right now, and I’ve been job hunting, building a business, volunteering with a local non-profit as their communications director and fostering feral kittens— in addition to parenting not one but two teenagers.

This crazy conglomeration of circumstances has brought me a great amount of joy as I try not to disappoint these teenagers, the cockatoo, or any of the 14 cats. Oh wait— that’s 13 now. We get rehome the black one and now we have 13 cats? That can’t be good.

I’ve used some of this time under the pandemic to expand my make-up looks.

Playing with Green

And my lack of steady income has led me to search for the best bargains possible… Got this toilet paper at CVS for $3.61.

Toilet paper bargain hunting

And as the days turn cold, I found my favorite tunic nightgown and whipped out my witch socks.

In the midst of this I think of all the friends who’ve lent a helping hand… the former work colleague who sent $20 and said “do something for yourself,” the college friend who sent a random check, my estranged husband who brought over groceries when I needed them, the new friend who gave me a $25 Dunkin gift card and showed me how to apply for food stamps, the friend who emptied her cupboards, the friend who waxed my brows and did my nails…

And I am so grateful.

My food stamps came in, and tomorrow I planned to go grocery shopping.

And much to my surprise another benefactor came forward today.

These will pay for what food stamps won’t— soap, garbage bags, cat food, cat litter, maybe even a rotisserie chicken. And I won’t have to wait for $9 in Extra Bucks, a 40% off coupon, and a manufacturer coupon to go get toilet paper.

I think about my job hunt (I have three pre-interview kind of situations happening this week. Interviewing in Covid is a weird combo of essay tests, screening questions, phone calls and video chats.)

And I’ve been touring office spaces with ASPIRE to Autonomy so seeing their vision become a reality makes me happy.

I have five interns that report to me now… I love seeing them grow.

And I have a new marketing client. Most of our work together will probably be in trade as she is starting a new small business.

I still feel like something good is on the horizon.

Hope and light come in unexpected places

I chose my current employer based on the flexibility I wanted for school, travel and motherhood. And for the most part, I like my job. Sometimes, people frustrate me but many of my regulars can uplift my spirits. Especially the children.

I’m a good old reliable person. I tend to get assigned duties that the average peon might not do, and I don’t mind, it keeps my mind engaged. I like my immediate team and my supervisor is incredibly down-to-earth and full of common sense.

The last few weeks have been challenging. We’ve increased our production, changed routines, and even experienced equipment difficulties. But our team weathers it well.

Today, I took a turn cashiering, not my usual gig, but I don’t mind doing what needs to be done. For a while, as I covered breaks for the regular cashiers, the lines got pretty intense as I was the sole person ringing.

In the middle of one of those lines, a truly beautiful woman approached. She seemed a couple years older than me, in a white dress with a subtle pink pattern. I believe it was a classy princess seamed dress. She had short dark hair. She brought a several pieces of jewelry to the counter with her other purchases.

She was full of so much positive energy.

“May I ask your opinion?” she asked.

“Sure,” I replied.

She showed me item #1. A friendship necklace. “I am buying this for a friend.”

She showed me item #2. A necklace with family charms. “I have another friend who is really close, and I consider her family. Is that cheesy?”

“No,” I said. “I think it shows the depth of your feeling. I would do the same thing and I would be touched if I were your friend.”

“I’ll do it,” she said.

We continued to chit chat as I rang up her purchases and at the end I heard her say something about offering me a bracelet.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“May I give you a breast cancer awareness bracelet?”

She pulled this big bag of pink bracelets from her bag.

“Sure,” I said. “I know some survivors and some people fighting.”

“I’m fighting as hard as I can,” she said.

Then I realized. She had short hair. She was very thin. She had a band-aid over what was probably her medication port. We chatted some more and I wished her luck. I told her I would be thinking of her often and if she ever needed support I normally worked in the cafe and she should come see me.

“I might take you up on that,” she said.

“Please do,” I said.

She brought light into my life and made me humble. Good luck to you, wherever you are.