Purple Syrup

I’m out for a walk around the neighborhood, and have come upon two women. They must be sisters, or mother and daughter, because they have the same high-hipped legginess, the same flat slope from neck to skull, and they carry their arms with the palms turned straight back, swinging in perfect synchrony. Because they are older I have overtaken them, and as I pass we exchange pleasantries which evolve into conversation. The beat of my stride is out of time, three for their two, but today I’m lonely and dogged. I like their humor. They complain that they get lost sometimes in their own hometown, but it’s still at the funny stage in which they are easily reoriented and can shake their heads and laugh. I’m losing it, one lady says. But I haven’t lost it yet.

At a bend in the road, we part ways. The blacktop is wet again after a long dry spell, and the air’s gone creamy and cool. Everywhere I go, I see small creatures: squirrels and rabbits, hummingbirds, blue jays, seagulls, crows. Today, a fawn. I feel like Snow White.

My son has made a friend whose father sent over a slice of blackberry pie, made with the berries the boys and I picked down by the lake. The plate is warm underneath, and I eat the pie standing up, wandering through the house from window to window before alighting on the back step to run my finger through the smears of purple syrup. A rabbit hops to the edge of the grass and my dog tears off after him. They disappear into the juniper bushes. A few seconds later she comes prancing back, looking for praise. You missed him, though, I tell her. But that’s more than fine with both of us. I fondle her silky ear and give her a scratch under the chin.

I don’t remember quite how I got here, but tonight it feels like home.

Any random kindnesses, given or received, that you would like to share?

Photo by Aneta Bartos

Photo by Aneta Bartos

21 responses

  1. Any random kindnesses, given or received, that you would like to share?

    Yes…that you shared your sense of ‘home’.

    It sends me on my way with purple syrup thoughts of my own. A nice way to start my day.

  2. My husband offered me a nap yesterday afternoon, out of the blue. “Honey, would you like to lay down for a hour,before I leave for class?”

    I really, really did.

    I’d left the door open, and some time later, I heard him tell my SIL, “I’d better wake up Sarah.”

    “No, don’t,” she said. “The kids are fine and I’ll make dinner Let her sleep.”

    He tiptoed in, pressed a kiss to my temple, and left. I drifted off again, until Sunny crawled in next to me, gave me a hug and said, “Mommy, dinner is ready. Do you want to eat with us?”

    I really, really did.

    • The best part of this is that the whole family was in on it. And you deserved that nap if anyone does. (Also, a nap is the best thing EVER. I take one every day, usually for about 10-15 minutes in the middle of the afternoon. But I have never been able to shake the feeling that I’m doing something wrong.)

  3. Yestereve, Susan and I had the privilege and pleasure of spending a couple hours in the company of volunteers for the Transformative Justice Law Project, stuffing envelopes to mail to prison inmates. The goal is to find pen-pals for inmates of unconventional gender. The volunteers are young and idealistic and generous and full of determination and hope.

  4. I used to leave anonymous notes on one guy’s windshield saying I was sorry for denting his car. I didn’t dent his car, but I would chuckle imagining him looking all over it for a dent.

    Wait . . . most people wouldn’t consider that a kindness, would they?

  5. Any random kindnesses, given or received, that you would like to share?

    Because I live in a small town, it seems this sort of thing happens all the time. (how much you must have enjoyed that pie!) On the flip side, since living here, we have also experienced a TON of random crime. Several things stolen, damaged, and then there was the time I was mugged, but I digress.

    A random act of kindness…. just a little while ago,..a woman offered to let me get in line ahead of her at Walmart…after one of those awkward jockeying moments when we both realized Lane 8 was wide open with a clerk waiting. Either one of us deserved to be first, but she backed her cart right up – she had LESS items too! and with a smile she said, “please, go ahead, I’m in no hurry.” And no, whistles, flashing lights, and balloons did not descend on me for being the 1,000,000 customer. Damn it.

    Oh, and…I bought my hubby his favorite beer, without him asking. 🙂

    • I do love a moment of retail courtesy. Ceding a place in line is the easiest way in the world to make someone’s day.

      I was at the grocery store just now, and a young clerk was helping an older lady get her groceries into the trunk. As I passed them, I heard the clerk’s voice laughing along with whatever the customer was saying, and the clerk was so young and lovely and sweet-tempered that it gave me a lift even to be on the periphery of the conversation.

  6. It was really weird to wake up and see that Mary Karr had both “favorited” and “retweeted” me. In less shallow news, I’ll be playing 3 hours of tennis in the noon sun tomorrow to raise money for Hospice of the Valley. Can’t wait!!!

    And my gosh Averil, these posts of yours are better than purple syrup.

  7. Yikes. I’m feeling awful that I can’t think of a random kindness at the moment. I’m going to blame it on end-of-work-week fried brain. And I will endeavor to be randomly kind to other drivers on the way home.

  8. The best lately: two busy and accomplished authors gave me wonderful cover comments for Pelt and Other Stories. This gal was overwhelmed.

  9. A moment worth savouring – as are the comments here! You’ve already heard about my received random act of kindness this week… Feeling very nourished, now 🙂