So, I am standing in line waiting to pay my library fines today. I notice that the clerk is wearing a chemo head wrap. A beautiful wrap, but it's obviously a chemo turban. I never wore a wig or turbans or head wraps. I wore bandanas and hats. I have a bandana to match any outfit. I really like to wear the black one with little white skulls. I have about a inch of hair now, but it's still obviously chemo hair. I wear my hair in the little-boy-summer-crew-cut style. Tres chic.
But I digress. As I am standing in line, I am wondering if I should say anything to her about her wrap. Perhaps I could offer some encouragement. "It gets better". I realize she does not want to hear that. She wants me to treat her as if she is not wearing a head wrap, even a beautiful head wrap. I decide to just be pleasant, but not say anything. Tres normal.
Without warning, my eyes are hot and my chin quivers. I am fighting back tears, afraid that I will break into an audible sob. It's my turn to step to the counter, but I barely have control, let alone the ability to speak. Tres cool.
I clumsily take my wallet from my bag and coins fly everywhere. At least I have a moment to collect myself as I stoop to gather my 35 cents, smashed pennies, and chinese fortunes. I complete my transaction with my head down, pretending to count change, pick lint, whatever. I look up at the last minute to say "thank you". I only trust myself to a quick glance from the angle of my eye. We lock eyes for a split second. Just a moment, a molecule of a moment, a moment loaded with knowing, an exchange of solidarity, a moment of silent sisterhood. I went to the car, then I sobbed, then I smiled. I like to think that she did too.