“Things aren’t important.
Things are important.
Does that make sense?”
She stood before me
In the supermarket.
A friend, I haven’t seen in over a year.
A disease that is slowly melting her cartilage away.
She smiled joyfully at me,
In front of the shredded cheese.
Her happiness had nothing to do with the cheese.
“I think so.” I replied.
“Big things aren’t important.
Small things are.”
Her smile continued.
“Yes last year I couldn’t stand.
I might have to have surgery to fuse my spine.
I won’t be able to move my head ever again.”
I said, “Like this?”
Slowly moving my back, neck, and head from side to side as one
Imagining what life would be like,
Like a naive child learning about homeless for the first time.
“Yes,” she said.
We stood, for a moment, in silence as the Friday shoppers passed us,
In a frenzied passion,
As if the three for two special
Held the meaning of life
Or the riches of Solomon.
“You look well,” I said and I meant it.
In fact, she looked beautiful,
With a knowledge and understanding
That few possess.
“Thanks,” she smiled again.
Her eyes closed as discomfort from her condition took hold of her.
“I can only get around now for small amounts of time
And I’m about done.”
I noticed a jar of Macadamia nuts in her hand
And looked around for her cart.
“Is you cart somewhere?”
No, this is all I came for.”
I looked confused
So she continued,
“Last year I couldn’t stand,
I couldn’t clean.
I couldn’t be the mother
I wanted to be.
Everything I thought I once was,
I couldn’t even bake.
I love baking.
At this moment,
I can do things,
Today I can bake cookies.”
She looked at the jar in her hand
And smiled sadly.
“Today I can bake,
Not silly at all.