“Mrs. Jones.” The nurse, snug in navy scrubs, calls from the opened doorway of the waiting room, her full face capped with short wavy hair. “We’re ready for you.”

Across from me sits a solitary widow leafing through a back issue of Better Homes and Gardens. She stirs in her armchair, then looks up. A smile crinkles her milk chocolate skin like breezes kissing the placid surface of a creek bottom. Tapered fingers, worn by life, set aside the magazine and reach for the cane next to her; then, settles it in the palm of her hand and waits for the next breath. She stands, the folds of her pink knee-length dress, patterned with full-blown roses, flaring around her. Her white jacket dwarfs her stooped frame.

As she thrusts her store-bought cane forward, her pencil-like legs begin to move, one step, followed by another, then another.

Then our eyes meet, and instantly our spirits thrill like wind chimes clinking in the sun, emboldening the life we our share.

The afterimage of this brief encounter has stayed with me since that afternoon. Who was that black woman, so frail, yet with such a hardy spirit? What hardships and losses has she sustained during her long years? Whence her wisdom, her joy so liberally shared with me?

Like the full-blown roses in her simple dress, her pinkness bespoke her seasoned soul on her way to the Jubilee. I sense it won’t be long.

 

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