I stand in the florescent aisle staring for what seems a long time. I’ve never owned a giant box of Crayolas and it seems silly to want one now at age sixty-six. I choose instead a turquoise journal and a marked-down sharpie. It is the color of the Caribbean, and for nineteen cents I cannot resist.
I heard them say on NPR that Biden had reached the finish line shortly before Bob returned home from the Farmer’s Market last Saturday. After a distracted high-five, we brought in the groceries, Bob retired to his office, and I finished vacuuming, letting the whine of the machine mask my jumbled feelings.
It had gotten quite warm, so I changed into a white sundress patterned with wisteria blotches before sorting out the produce: forest green spinach, spring green cabbage, and two enormous heads of red-violet leaf lettuce. Texts rolled in — black letters on an orchid screen. “Yippeee!” I typed back, over and over.
I paced. There was not enough time to launch into kitchen prep before a 1:00 Zoom with my brothers. I walked down the hall with the apricot walls and tapped on the door before entering Bob’s work sanctum. “What’s going on?” he asked eyes on his screen. “I need a hug,” I said, placing my hand on the shoulder of his checkered robin’s egg blue shirt. He smiled and stood up, pulling me into his broad chest. The hypervigilant me vanished and I found my new balance.
It was a small gathering: John, Joe, Jim, me, and Bob, who joined us from his workroom. No one spoke of the election, although I recall talking about the staggering waste of money spent on campaigns, rueful over what it could have done to help our working class through this pandemic.
I tend toward disillusioned outrage, I thought, looking at the set of my mouth on my laptop screen, my face peach against the yellow wall of our back porch. My timberwolf hair hid the skinny shoulder straps, my purple dress looking more the color of purple mountains majesty, chosen perhaps as a symbol of change.
After the boys pulled the conversation out of the toilet, we took turns saying what we were grateful for, this being our last get-together of 2020. I said I was happy for the sense of purpose I gained from working in our multi-greened garden and for the support of my friends. Bob was happy to see his sacrifices reflected in our bank balance, John thanked Jesus for challenges as well as gifts because with challenge comes the gift of resilience, Jim was grateful to have kept his job, and Joe felt blessed for the health of his parish and spiritual community.
My basket brimming with goldenrod-colored boxes of snack crackers, a chestnut hair clip, and two yellow bottles of Immune C plus Zinc & Vitamin D gummies, I circle back to the stationery aisle. I stand in my previous footprints for a few moments, reverent and conflicted, before reaching for that box of 64 Crayon Colors.