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The Gift


December 2021

There she was, again.

 

After an exhausting morning running a few errands, I headed to Bux (Starbucks) to treat myself to some coffee and breakfast. "Exhausting," you say? Fatigue is one of my battlefields these days. Just standing or moving around doing stuff like washing (usually breaking!) dishes gets me so out of breath. When I finally free-fall into a chair (lookout!), I feel as though I've summited Everest. Honestly. And it seems to more of a presence these last few months.


The good news? I am always able to shed the fatigue when I'm on my bike! It's similar to the feeling I get when I'm in the water; as if those two sacred places allow NO ENTRY for my disease; VIPs only! I'm so blessed to have them, and vow never to take them for granted.


So, back to my coffee run...I wrestle my walker out of the back seat for the-- let's see...8th time today (4 stops), don my mask and begin making my way to the next hurdle-- the infamously heavy Starbucks door! I can't (safely) look up when I'm walking, but I stop to rest, fixing my gaze on the target, and notice a young girl and her mother standing by the door.


I resume my trek, and as I approach the large, heavy door, the girl, with exquisite timing, pulls the door wide open for me with smiling, kind eyes. (btw have we all gotten better at detecting emotions in eyes, thanks to COVID-19?) Like a butler welcoming an aristocrat to a Gatsby party, the girl stands proud and tall, as if to say, "Take your time, kind sir. I have all the time in the world for you, Mr. Quinn...". With laser-like focus, I again look down to survey the terrain, and delicately negotiate my way over the mountainous threshold and into the party.


I order my coffee and join the micro-crowd, which seems to be waiting in micro-groups. I have a seat in my walker. I am SO glad to sit and rest. After a long while, my number is up. I laboriously make my way to the counter and unlike the last time, when I proceeded to embarrassingly and mortifyingly spill my coffee all over the floor, I successfully load my cargo into the walker. Still as a deer frozen by headlights, I go through my routine of eyeing my destination which in this case is the door, to map out the safest route. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two figures outside, drinks in hand, patiently looking toward me, as if standing at attention in the cold, morning air. I look more closely; then recognize the same young girl looking directly at me, standing tall, her mother in the background. They'd been waiting outside for at least 5 minutes, probably more.


As I approached the door, the girl-- eyes smiling-- caringly and warmheartedly opened the door, as if to say, "I am here for you...I understand."

 

I've learned to carry such moments with me-- to let them stay with me and let them "fill me up." They sustain me when I start to bend; an open door, a wave, a nod, "smiling eyes," a "would you like some help?" (to which I now always respond an enthusiastic "yes!" regardless of whether I do or not), a "take your time," and countless more kindnesses I've received from strangers...It's one of the numerous silver linings that have come with this disease.


A simple yet extraordinary act of kindness by a young girl at Starbucks on a cold, overcast December morning-- eternal...

 

Did I mention that one of the Starbucks workers bought me my coffee and breakfast? Does it get any better??!!


 

---------- BLACK LIVES MATTER ----------


---------- STOP ASIAN HATE ----------


 



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