Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Death and coffee

Somewhere along the highway in Georgia, I found I couldn't shake the weariness that the miles of the weekend had granted me. We took an exit in search of caffeine and too many extra miles later, were pulling into a coffee shop.  I pulled into the drive thru, because as every parent knows, any other option would be unthinkable. However, this time (and truly, even in my most frazzled mommy moments, I've never done this before) I drove right past the order window. Upon realizing my error, Kris suggested that I just go inside, since he could stay in the car to look after the wild cubs we refer to as our children.

I ordered and as I was waiting for the barista to make my drink, I noticed a woman sitting in an isolated table, just out of sight of everyone, except for me. One could see in a moment's glance the deep sadness in her face; the pain was etched into the lines on her face and the shadows underneath her eyes. She had a distinct indention on her ring finger where a wedding ring had recently been. She was holding a large bottle of prescription pills in her left hand, and a large cup of iced coffee in her right hand. She appeared to be studying the label, but upon further observation, I realized the label was underneath her hand and she was staring at the open bottle of pills. Just as I reached to get my drink, the woman poured 30 pills into her right hand and shoved them into her mouth. That fraction of a second in reality slowed to an almost tangible, discernible ticking in my head, as the gravity of LIFE hit. I rushed to her and said the most pathetic and plausible thing that previous fraction had afforded me to formulate ("Excuse me, Ma'am, are you alright?"). She looked up at me, startled, and spit all the pills into her empty hand, and as she laid them onto the table in front of her, she started to weep, uncontrollably. The barista, who had noticed the brief commotion, rushed to her side and began asking her questions, but she was unable to reply through the sobs. I suggested that we call the police, and the other employee did so promptly.

I don't know the final outcome of this story, and never will, but I do know that the writing of the story - her story - was not to be completed. Not in that moment. The details in the entire encounter were Divine - utterly.  Death in the left hand, coffee in the right hand - it is an image burned into my mind, the concrete reminder to me that His eye is on even the sparrow.