Now it’s a blur.
All those moments—
Longing for bed after endless nights
Waking with an attack plan for each day
Search for a place to live
Register for Teaching
Register for Grad School
Figure out route to work
Find local school supply store
Stand in classroom and stare at walls
Where to begin?
She was a Fourth Grade teacher
First Year/First Full Time Job/New City/New School/New Apartment
“Listen, I’d like to have you over for dinner. I can show you the route I take to work, and show you some travel options.”
It was nice.
This pause for hospitality
And the hospitality felt so different here.
My cheery, “Good mornings!” mostly garnered scowls…okay maybe soft scowls…maybe confusion.
In the deep South we love you until you give cause otherwise
Wave at folks who ride through the neighborhood
Baltimore, seemed opposite.
I can’t remember how I made it to her place—if she picked me up or if I met her.
I do remember her driving a route, chatting.
I do remember her kindness
She had a home well lived-in
It felt like a place that had once hustled & bustled with love
And now the hustle & bustle was the memory
Still loud and bright and wonderful
I remember her kitchen
Soft turquoise-skyish-rainish blue
She made chicken and corn
Pulled chicken, I believe
And the corn must’ve marched right in, shucked itself and jumped into a steam bath
It was so fresh
I imagined her churning butter.
I was beginning to tire.
Overwhelmed by her hospitality and the bigness of it all.
Weighted by the next day’s agenda.
She listened to a commentary hopeful, ambitious, skeptical
What she gave me, I’ll never forget
A face in a crowd of newness that was always familiar and supportive
That was the most we talked, actually.
That bit of time together.
We worked in the same building for two years
And we didn’t speak much
Not on account of anything, in particular
I do remember going to her
I do remember always seeing reassurance in her eyes
I wonder what she saw in mine…
I’ve never had anyone quite like her
Who spoke volumes with her eyes, hardly any with her mouth.
I remember her eyes to be tired ones. Lively. Alive. But also, exhausted.
Sunken, but bright.
It meant even more that she mustered reassurance for each time I gazed.
I’ve lost her name.
Perhaps if I looked in a yearbook from way back then.
But, I like what I kept
Her unassuming sweetness and relentless grace.
Her Gift of Simplicity: food. direction.
She nailed the essentials.
My heart hopes her to know the impact of her kindness.