It happened because of eggs.
Well, because of eggs and because they have redesigned the store where I typically shop. On arrival home, Joe asked if I'd hop in the power chair and head over to the grocery store to pick up bread, eggs and milk. He had several trips up from the car to the apartment with luggage. If we timed it right, we'd both be done and in our housecoats around the same time. I eagerly agreed to go to the store. Using the power chair after almost a month of wheeling manually seemed such a luxury. My thumbs are calloused from the miles pushed and, now, occasionally I get arthritic twinges in the bones of my hand. It would be nice to be carried along easily. Too, I wanted to see all the Christmas preparations in the area.
I went out of my way over to Yonge Street and headed north. I was enjoying the fresh air after over eight hours cooped up in an airplane. It was nice to feel completely, utterly free. The stores didn't disappoint. Clever decorations were everywhere. Even the kinda funky, kinda sleazy sex shoppe around the corner had hung wreaths and mistletoe in interesting places. I was having fun.
Once in the store I headed over to get the eggs last, of course, as they needed to be on top of the bag. I'd also picked up several tins of beans as our traditional 'we're home' meal is beans on toast! It's as homey a meal as you will ever have. I went over to the eggs and then remembered that they had been moved with the store renovations. I went in search of them and found that they were now in a cooler. I'd have to open the door and reach down and back. I couldn't get my chair positioned properly.
I was going to have to ask for help. I looked around but there were no staff in the area. I pondered for a second and then noticed a woman as she walked past me. I called out, 'Excuse me ...' she turned speaking, which surprised me, 'No, really, I'm alright,' she said. I saw that she had been crying. She had a handkerchief in her hand crumpled and wet.
'Oh, no,' I said, immediately embarrassed that I had entered into her upset, 'I was just going to ask you to help me get some eggs.' She saw the situation and said quickly, 'Of course.'
She came over and picked up a dozen eggs, she opened the carton and looked in. One was cracked. She got another carton and these were all fine. She handed them to me. I started to thank her, she stopped me by gently putting her hand on my shoulder, 'I needed to be needed just then. You'll never know how grateful I will be to you.' Tears filled her eyes again and she was gone.
I felt like a really big moment had happened. A moment that I would never understand. Like I was a tool used by an unseen hand in a garden too huge to see close up. Odd how when I set out to help, I often don't and yet other times are ... well, other times.
Sometimes I don't know how to feel about asking for help.
Sometimes I do.