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Sweater Shopping

I rifled through the long rack of sweaters in Marshalls last week, looking for a sweater that is not acrylic, not frilly, not diaphanous, not turtleneck, not humongous, not red or orange or pink…my specifics go on ad nauseum. Feeling the sweaters, sliding them over, checking price tags, material content, engrossed in my task.

Bits of conversation drifted over to me from the other side of the rack, slowing my focus. “I had to come here to get away from the news” one said. “I hear you, me too” the other said. “It all just makes me so anxious, I’m sick of the Tweets, the lies, the news.” “Whoever thought he would make it into office?” “It’s so shocking. I can’t wait till he’s out. The other “I’m counting on Mueller.”

Intrigued, I glanced up to see two, ‘seniors’, well, more senior than myself anyway. They stood, leaning on their shopping carts, white curly hair nodding to each other in agreement. How nice, I thought, running into your friend in Marshalls. And how reassuring to me, to hear two such politically informed and conversant women, weaving their concern for the state of the world and others, into their friendship. I smiled at them, but they were engrossed in their chat.

Midway down the rack, with few sweater options in my basket from my intensive search, I could still hear them. Smiling to myself, I looked forward to telling a friend about the overheard encounter, as she had told me about a shopping expedition a few days ago, when she’d literally left the store, because there were too many dour women shoppers around her. “It was depressing!” she’d told me. Now I could tell her“There’s still some hope out there.”

With that thought, I heard the women saying their good-byes. The shocking thing? They’d just met, there, in Marshalls. I heard the delight in the chance meeting and the mutually agreeable conversation, as they each said, “So nice to have met you” and “It was lovely chatting with you”, they seemed reluctant to part. I was rooting for them to exchange numbers, emails, something. I struggled to keep my nosey self from calling across the sweater rack to say, “Don’t just walk away from each other!” How rare is it to find someone, make a new friend, one of like mind? Then I heard, “Maybe we could meet for coffee or tea some day?” “Yes! I would like that, seems like we have a lot to say to each other.” Whew. They got out their pens and scraps of paper and offered up the info, even as they continued to talk, sharing kids “I have three, do you have any?” Yes, two, and three grandchildren. “Oh, I have two grandkids.”

They said their good-byes and walked in separate directions, each with a smile on their face. Me too.

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