Our poor old van was in need of some fixing, so on Monday I drove her to the auto repair shop. “Whatchya need, Hon?” Asked the ponytailed brunette at the counter when I walked through the front door looking as lost as I usually do in auto repair shops, or any kind of shop involving tools for that matter. “Um, my husband made an appointment for our Toyota Sienna,” I told her, hoping no other information about the vehicle was required. “Let’s see,” she said, looking over the notebook in front of her, "is it under Troy Sabourin?”
“Yes,” I said, then stood there blankly staring at her until finally she asked, “Well, can I have your keys?”
Once that was sorted out, I took a seat by the window and pulled out my Kindle, and the woman at the counter turned her attention back to the less than natural blonde standing across from her. It was just the three of us in the room so try as I might to not appear like I was eavesdropping, I couldn’t help but overhear every word of the colorful dialogue they were in no way attempting to keep private.
“So anyway,” said the brunette, “my dad just sits there on his fat ass watching television all day until he gets hungry and starts yelling at me to get him something to eat. Meanwhile his girlfriend never does one thing around the house. I swear to God, I’m like his freakin’ maid. I have got to get out of there. I can’t stand it anymore.”
“I hear ya,” said the blonde. I won’t have nothin’ to do with my effed up family. I’ve been in counseling for years for all the nasty crap they put me through and now I’ve got my own kid in counseling. Geesh, I mean he’s only seven years old and already screwed up because his jerk of a father rejected him. It’s too bad you can’t pick your parents – that you're just stuck with what you got.”
“Oh my boy’s in counseling too. It is so damn hard to mother on your own. And you know what’s really pathetic?” asked the brunette. “That I live in a big old beautiful house filled with nothing but depression."
“Mmm-hmm,” agreed her friend. “Depression, bipolarism, anxiety it’s everywhere.”
The phone rang then, and after speaking briefly to the mechanic on the other end of the receiver, the brunette called out, “Ms Sabourin, I think it might be awhile before your van is ready. Is there someone that can pick you up?”
“Hey, I’m on my way to Ogden Dunes,” her friend chimed in. “Do you need a ride someplace?”
“That’s so kind of you,” I said, genuinely touched by her offer, “but I live in the opposite direction. I can call my husband to come and get me.”
Looking at her watch, the blonde announced she was late for work and should probably take off. “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” she asked, while pulling on her coat.
“Me and my son will probably go to my boyfriend’s,” the brunette answered, rolling her eyes. “What about you?”
“The same. Hey, listen girl, you keep your head up, OK?”
“You too, honey. See you later.”
It was just the two of us left then: me and the heavy-laden, single-mom receptionist. “Can I get you some coffee?” she asked.
“That would be lovely,” I told her, holding her gaze and smiling as warmly as possible. We made small talk as she poured the pitcher of water into the industrial size Bunn coffee maker, until the phone rang again. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my husband’s Ford Fusion pull into the parking lot. I knew he was in a hurry. I had to go.
The receptionist, cradling the phone with her shoulder and furiously scribbling down information into her notebook, did not notice me standing up and heading for the exit, nor did she notice that she’d put too much water in the coffee maker and now coffee was overflowing down the sides of the pot. Before leaving I reached over and switched the power off, unsure of what else to do to help minimize her mess.
Grant her rest, I prayed, then joined my husband in his car and we headed toward our humble, imperfect, abuse-free, loving home. Too whom much is given, much will be required, I heard echoing in my head.
Lord Have Mercy, I have so much more than I even realize.