It is another one of those days that I should not be writing, should be letting the pups out of their kennel, should be heading out 'bout now to do my chores,but..I have a story to tell here. One that I can't quite believe, grasp with my head-but my heart says I received a gift yesterday, so I must share it-give it away.
I work in a local cafe in my off season- waitress, philosopher, server. I wasn't born to be wild or mild-I think my nature falls somewhere in between there, anyway-I love the gig of serving wonderful food in an environment of old ambiance and new perspectives. The day was slow, the customers laid back, except for one that I was rude to, had to be rude to, he was vermin with an agenda of ? He affected me like a black cloud with black oxygen, couldn't bear being around this individual-asking many personal questions and he just oozed negativity. So-I was assertive in my rudeness finally, and had there been no other customers around, I would have probably used stronger language with him, the type I speak when fishing or working on machinery. I needed to clearly assert that he was not welcome now or ever-but hey, he still tipped me, which I found even odder in his behavior. I can tell you I walked to my pickup after work with wide eyes in the back of my head, not trusting at all this eerie fellow. But..that is not my story-
A young man came in, a beautiful, sweet sorrowful young man. He was all "yes ma'am, and no ma'am and thank you ma'am", I knew right away- a Marine. His hair, his jawline, the way he dressed reminded me, made me suck my breath in and tell myself to breathe-toooooo familiar, this young man. He ordered lunch and ate with the gusto of a remembrance of food lines from an earlier time-the time when soldiers inhale food, double or single rations, to fill the stomach quick and get on with duty.
"Could I bring you dessert?" "Yes ma'am." "Cheesecake?" "Yes ma'am." "Did you enjoy it?" "YES MA'AM!" "What's your rank son?" "Sargent ma'am." "Where you from?" "Peoria ma'am."
Can I touch your jawline? Your beard stubble, your hair? Is that a new jacket? You were always so stylish. Are you OK? I haven't seen you in tooooooo long. Are you well? You look different, but I know it's you, isn't it? Such an angel.
Those were my thoughts, my reaction to a miracle? A resemblance? The hair, just like I remembered-the jaw, the chin-always having to shave twice a day, I had such a hard time controlling the hand that remembered too and wanted so badly to reach out...please don't think I've lost it here, I felt a remembrance of so many qualities that walked right in there to that restaurant and sat right down- and charm, the sweetest of charms-the quality of only one other I've known like that, sat like that, eyes like that. I felt like I was in a different orbit-removed for awhile from this world into another...amazing grace upon me.
The room came back, the noise, the background music played again, the Marine-my Marine seemed himself, the man/ boy from Peoria wanted his check. I smiled, thankfully -wholeheartedly still embracing the moment before-and said, "Son, your check is up front. Take care of yourself."
"Yes ma'am! and thank you, everything was so good."
Of course I picked up his tab, not because of the memory or? He was a Marine, a fighter, a hero-the very least I could do in way of thanks was buy him lunch, and joyfully I did. Upon his leaving we exchanged "Semper Fi's-(forever true" and he wondered out loud how I knew he was a Marine? Not army,navy,air force?) I just smiled, and the hand, the largely uncontrollable one -reached out and patted his shoulder. He smiled...and left in his.....Mustang, his wine colored, turbo charged Mustang, with dual exhaust...Just like my son's.
Imagine me, peeking around the building trying to dissect this miracle coincidence, trying to hush my imagination, my hopeful vision-but I could not nor will I ever dismiss yesterday...the blessing, the miracle in disguise, the thinking
"I just have to see what kind of car he drives, if it is a Mustang, stick-a-fork-in-me-I'm-done."
Blew me away...I do wonder, did I entertain an angel? I'd bet the farm on it.