White puffs of cold November air emerge from my mouth as I watch a woman in a brown peacoat and jeans, probably in her early 50s, walk arm in arm with a white-haired, shorter, more weathered version of herself. Despite the cold, they’re laughing, heading toward a shopping cart, seemingly delighted just by the mundane chore of going to the grocery store together.
I start my car and feel a pang reach into my heart and squeeze: I want to see my mom!
Then, all over again, I remind myself that she’s gone. She’s been dead for more than five years. I hate when this happens: an image, a thought, a memory comes hurtling out of nowhere, reminding me of how much I miss her. I want to see her, talk to her, feel her big, rugged hands—hands you’d never guess could turn an empty canvas into a delicate landscape of trees and waterfalls, hands that would wrap around a tea mug as she’d listen patiently to her child’s latest complaint, earnest wish, or offhand joke.
My mother wasn’t book smart, but she had an abundance of common sense, disliked gossip, and always tried to help people. Although she never finished high school, I often felt she was the wisest woman I’d ever met.
The mother and daughter from the supermarket are in my head now, crashing around, and I feel jealous that they have what I don’t: time…