What’s Your Story?

Music plays softly in the background at Starbucks.  I sit here, drinking my coffee and watching people walk in and out of the entrance. The floor needs to be cleaned, its littered with dirt from boots of construction workers who have been coming and going all morning and wrinkled up straw wrappers that didn’t make into the trash.

As I look out the window, I see a man fiddling with his wallet as he gets out of his car. He strolls up to the entrance way of Starbucks, opening the squeaky, fingerprinted glass door. He walks inside and we make eye contact. Both of us have an awkward smile on our faces and we nod a hello to each other. I hurry up and look back down at my computer and go about my work, and then I begin to think and wonder what that mans story is. We all have a story, don’t we? We’ve all been somewhere, we’ve all been through something. Some people may have seen more than others and some of us who are have felt enormous amounts of happiness, joy, sorrow and pain have a strength some will never understand.

I again glance over at the man who is now standing at the counter ordering his coffee. He’s wearing a pair of sneakers, kaki pants and a green jacket. His hair doesn’t look like it was brushed today because pieces are sticking out from under his hat. His hands and fingernails are dirty. I wonder what his story is.

Just as I wonder about this man, I wonder every day about our military veterans. I wonder where they’ve been, what they’ve seen and how they are really doing.

Maybe I wonder about things too much sometimes. 

I still remember what it was like when my husband was deployed to war for 15 months. I remember all of the calls from the FRG Red Line, alerting me to yet another soldier being killed or injured. I remember being in the Red Line system and calling other family members to alert them of those KIA and WIA after first of kin had been notified.

I remember the moment I knew my husband was so injured that things were going to be drastically different for our family. Years later, I crave intimacy that the war stole from our family. I crave touch. I crave appreciation and affection, damn it.

I look at myself. I’m sitting here with my MacBook and two cell phones. My black work phone and my personal gold iPhone that’s in a really fabulous gold glittery case. An almost empty Starbucks cup sits on the wobbly table next to my MacBook as my hot pink fingernails click against the keyboard I’m typing on. I have a pair of black flats on my bare feet, comfy blue jeans, my black work shirt. Under my clothes I’m wearing my new, super cute black lingerie. I may or may not have a thing for lingerie 😉  and it might always have to match my clothes. My hair is curled and my make up is on. I think I look pretty normal. I smile and hold my head high, like nothing in the world could be wrong.

Life is tough sometimes, but you should use your experiences to help others. My parents were always so proud of me for understanding that.

I remember being at the hospital when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. “She has cancer, and it is big…” the doctor said. My dad walked away from the table we were sitting at and he was visibly upset at the news the doctor just gave us. My dad was my rock during the time my mom was sick. He always acted like everything was OK, but I know it wasn’t. I know, because … after all… I am my fathers daughter.

After my mom died, my dad kept calling out for my mom and saying things like, “Where’d your mom go?” I felt like he was losing it. He would say things like he could have sworn he had seen my mom walking through the house, but she was not there. She was dead. My mom died in April of 2015 and my dad died of a broken heart just seven months later in November, 2015.

Do you think, just by looking at me, the man at the counter could tell that I had been through difficult times in my life?

My clothes are clean. I shower at least twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night before I go to sleep. I have never had a cavity and I don’t have any weird diseases.  I have always tried to be a good mom. I’ve been a humanitarian and traveled to a third world country to help those who were less fortunate. I started two nonprofit organizations helping military veterans and volunteered at several others. I sang in the school and church choir. I volunteer at the church nursery. Those are just a few of the good things I’ve done.

I also wear a crooked halo sometimes. I’m human. I have human thoughts and desires. I read all of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I watched two of the movies *gasp!* I like candles, massages, the beach and ocean, a star filled sky and orgasming. I mean, who doesn’t like orgasming??? … don’t lie.

I’m not innocent, and I don’t pretend to be. All and all, I try to be a good person.

As the man walks away with his coffee, he turns briefly smiles at me. His eyes look a little sad, but I’m not sure why. I put on a smirk as he walks towards the fingerprinted glass door. The door squeaks as he opens it and heads out to his vehicle. He carefully opens his car door, bending inside his car and placing his coffee cup in the holder. The parking lot isn’t very full. He sits in his car, shuts the door and buckles up. He backs up to pull away and I see it… I see a United States Army Veteran sticker on his back window and a DV (Disabled Veteran) plate on the back of his car.

Maybe I should have asked how that man was. Why his eyes were sad… but today, I fit into the mold that everyone else tends to fit in most of the time. I stayed to myself… plugging away at my computer, working yet wondering.

I wonder what that mans story is. I wish I would have made an effort to ask him how his day was. He may have been having a great day, or he may have needed someone to talk to.

Often times, we pass people and let them be, but maybe… just maybe – if you take time to ask how someone how they are, and are really interested, you could help someone. Maybe you’ll make a new friend, maybe you’ll just brighten someone else’s day. I stayed in my bubble today. Here I sit, and I type… alone and wondering.

Everyone has a story. What’s yours? I really want to know.

Written by Patti on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

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