Most the the time it's pretty low key. Take a shower, do my hair and make-up, throw on something decent and drive the twenty miles or so. I show my card, my license, get my little ticket and present it too the people handing out presents. Easy enough, but at times annoying,especially to pick up a wax warmer of something like that, which I actually passed on.
Last week it was an expensive turkey roaster. I was not in the greatest of moods.
I stood in line for a couple of minutes, then handed my cards to a man who printed me out a ticket.
"Here you go, Sweetheart," he said.
For a moment, I couldn't speak, not even to say thank-you. I felt gut-punched. My eyes started to travel upward. He was older, tall, and had a full head of beautiful white hair, but I looked quickly down without making eye contact.
That simple word, 'Sweetheart' took me completely off-guard and basically knocked the wind out of me. Of course I knew it didn't mean anything. In situations like that it's a casual endearment, but still I began to shake.
For the majority of my life I had hundreds of endearments replacing my name. Sweetheart, sweetie, babe, baby, baby-doll, girly-girl, honey, little girl, love-bug, sweet cheeks, well I could go on and on, but the point is no one calls me those things anymore and hasn't in over a year.
I didn't answer. I took the ticket from his hand and walked mindlessly away, picked up the stupid roaster I didn't need and left immediately. It occurred to me as I walked to my car that, with Bill gone, no one would every call me those sweet names again, and mean them. Probably not as long as I live, and certainly not with the same emotions behind them.
That's kind of a sad thing, knowing you could live another, well, however many years and never inspire that kind of love and devotion in another living soul. Knowing you will never again be anyone's priority, never be their reason for being, never be the reason they smile when they get up.
I'm not complaining, it was just sort of a rude awakening and once again I'm wondering what I'm still doing here.