I'm having a really good day and I feel bad about that because my friend is having a terrible one.
I was up early this morning and got quite a bit accomplished, a real relief after being sick for the past couple of weeks. I still haven't shaken this bronchitis, but I finally got a good night's rest and even though it's a dreary, snowy day, I've felt cheerful for the first time since getting sick. It boosted my already sunny mood this morning when I asked my Number Two Son to perform a couple of household chores and he actually did them. (Those of you with teenagers will require no further explanation.) Then we went to the post office, where I mailed the book contract that should have gone out last week (they won't cut me an advance check until they receive the paperwork with my signature). Relieved to have finally taken care of that little errand, it made me ridiculously happy when I bought stamps and got a wonderful little folder full of Mary Cassatt pictures.
My son was driving, we were grooving to some classic rock, we made a pit stop at the pet store for turtle supplies and then went out to lunch. When it was time to get my son to work -- this is the second half of his senior year and instead of going to school he's interning at a climbing center -- I was wishing I had time for one more cup of the restaurant's excellent coffee.
"Can I get you a cup to go?" the server asked, reading my mind.
I almost kissed her.
I dropped off the kid and headed home, slurping coffee and bopping my head along with Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb", which is actually a very sad song, but it's the coolest music because it's...well...Pink Floyd. I was still humming as I parked the car and stuck my key in the back door of our house, still smiling as I shrugged out of my coat and dropped my keys on the kitchen table, still walking with a springy step as I entered my office, which has sunny yellow walls, and sat down and switched the computer on. And then I remembered.
My friend's husband died yesterday.
He was 95 and sick, so it wasn't completely unexpected. But is anyone ever prepared to lose her husband?
I have talked to her on the phone but I can't go over there and put my arms around her because I don't want her catching this junk I've got. So here I am, bouncing through my day, savoring little pleasures like coffee and good music and pretty postage stamps and lunch with my kid while my friend sits at home crying. And I feel bad because I don't feel worse.
If you're a person who prays, please send up one for Helen today. And for me, that I'll be a good friend to her in the lonely days to come.