Friday, April 10, 2009

One Day

I woke up at 6:31 this morning to a knock on my door. Shoot. I had forgotten--Matt and I were going running. I pushed on my glasses and, squinting, opened the door. We were both super tired, so we decided to do just one lap around Porter Park this time. The sky was gray with eager rainclouds and there were cars everywhere--cars of parents and grandparents who had come to help their little college person pack up his or her stuff in preparation for another break. It was noisy for 6:3o-something in the morning, but the park was quiet.

At noon, my aunt and uncle came to haul my boxes into Grandpa's pickup and transfer them to my grandparents' house for the next five months. One contained a pile of Rachael Ray magazines, my dictionary, and my reading lamp, among other things. I watched as my uncle pushed that box to the far end of the pickup bed.

Around 2:26, I walked past the digital clock on the oven and out the garage door. I walked down South Park Street to the post office a couple of blocks away. The road veered to the left a little, but I walked straight. I walked across the grass. The pointed heads of the grass blades peeked over the sides of my flip flops and graced the outlines of my feet.

I arrived at the post office a little tentatively. Confession: I have had a fear of post offices for a long time. I think they started when, as a little girl, I would wait in the car for my mom while she went in "to mail a few things . . . but I'll be back in just a minute, okay?" I would sit between the driver and passenger seats and look at the watch she left with me to count the time. She was always gone for more than a minute. After a minute passed, I would look around for a cop car so I would know where to run if my mom had been abducted or something. Thankfully, such an action was never necessary. Later in life, I matured to the point where I was expected to go into the post office myself while my mom ran another errand. The workers at the post office looked mean. They were either grossly overweight or grossly skinny, they cussed under their breath, and none of them smiled. Except once: Once, this black man was working there (I had never seen him before; he must have been new), and he smiled and asked, "What can I do for you today, Miss?" But other than him, all postal workers have scared me to no end. I was positive they were all thieves or drug dealers or both, in cohorts against the innocent citizens of Manhattan. But I digress. The point is, when I walked into the postal office of Sugar City, Idaho today, I expected to meet an unsmiling swearer, but instead, a nice middle-aged man asked me how he could be of service. He sold me a book of stamps, then he weighed my tax money envelopes and placed 59-cent stamps on them. He thanked me and wished me a good day. I did the same and pushed the swinging door open, walking out.

I walked across the street to Sugar City's food market. I believe it is the only real store in the town. I didn't feel like buying anything--just walking--so I walked up and down every aisle, even the aisle that had nothing in it but dog food and lysol. But I enjoyed it.

Something was different today. Maybe it's because school is out for five months. Maybe it's because Spring is in the air. I used to wonder what that really meant, for Spring to be in the air, but I think I have figured it out. It's still a little chilly outside and even gloomy, but some breath of fresh air has whispered to the tree bark and the robin and the dirt that April is here. And they have listened.