Sunday, March 2, 2014

To the Whistling Man in the Walmart Parking Lot

Today, I notice two new silver hairs. They thicken the streak of silver that already waves its way through my bangs. The crows feet stare at me from the mirror, along with the creases at the corners of my mouth that have introduced themselves to my reflection in the last few years.

Yesterday, my daughter held her palm against mine. "Mommy," she said, "your hand is a lot more spotted and wrinkled than mine."

Ah, the brutal honesty of the innocent.

The truth is, I haven't been aging gracefully. I've been aging, kicking, screaming, biting, and clawing my way through it. 

Tonight, I wheel my cart of groceries through the parking lot to my minivan--my minivan that says, "Hi, I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I have three little troopers that sit in these three car seats several times a week and compete for who can reach the highest decibel."

Somewhere along the line, I lose track of the van and aim for a minivan farther down the row. When I reach it, I see the license plate, and stop suddenly in confusion. Where is my familiar vehicle? I turn in a full circle, and then I see it. Or him.

A man, standing beside the open door of his vehicle. His mouth reshapes itself, and a whistle splits the air--a whistle that proclaims to the parking lot: "I like the way you look."

I stare at the man, memorizing his familiar features, the way his fingers curve around the door handle, as they had done to my hand nearly ten years ago when he had slipped a ring onto the now-wrinkled finger of my left hand.

This man has watched each of my wrinkles form over the years, has combed his fingers through the silver streaks that have appeared, has found ways to say, "I love you, and you're still beautiful to me" through all ten years.

So to the whistling man in the Walmart parking lot: I love you.