I’m in a baaad mood. I’m a grump. I’m a stranger in a strange land, one of mochaccinos and tweets and Ugg boots and pep and everybody’s moving like a guppy through life. I don’t want to connect today. I don’t want to make it easier and be among you. I don’t like that your hair smells so clean and I don’t care that it’s 80 degrees and I’m not won over by The Lego Movie poster. I simply want to pout as I walk through this outdoor mall, and you should know I plan on dragging my heels. Nothing will pull me up from the bottom of the well.
And then I see her sitting on the edge of a fountain, in the middle of a hundred faces. She is holding her purse and looking at it with such tenderness, a tiny crack happens inside me. An opening. It’s enough for lastima to seep in. And I can hear her too, I can hear her humming a tune, something from long ago, or maybe I’m just imagining it, but even still, the annoyingly cheerful chatter fades away, and I’m softened by her lullaby.
I walk closer. I move in. On her purse is a picture of her family, her grandchildren, perhaps all that she has left in this world. Everybody’s in tank tops here, but she’s wearing a coat. Everybody’s sporting the new trendy sling purse here, but she’s got an old handbag and that handbag is all she needs. Everybody’s engrossed with their iPhones here, but she is sitting by a fountain and being still and looking at her pocketbook with tears in her eyes.
She makes me want to frolic and jump, right then and there. She makes me want to be the kind of person a grandmother stares at on her purse. And suddenly everybody around me is somebody’s grandchild. I am lifted up by their energy and by the sunshine, but most of all by her.
p.s. Cheesy almost always gives way to lastima, but it’s a small price to pay for getting in a good mood.