It was pandemonium at our table. The six of us were trying to get everything organized. Buffet style breakfasts with two kids is a bit, um, chaotic. At least for us all. Ruby was seated beside me and explaining the virtues of using chocolate milk in raisin bran cereal. "Putting something good in something yucky makes something sort of OK,' was her brief explanation. I watched the bran soak up the chocolate milk and, sodden, it looked like it was destined to become. I'll leave that to your vivid imaginations.
We were all having fun. I noticed Ruby notice him first. He was a boy, a good looking kid actually, of about 11. He had stopped dead and was staring right at me. Taking in my size, my chair, my utter loveliness. He didn't stop. I was uncomfortable. Ruby was uncomfortable. He didn't stop. I noticed his parents notice him and then look away - ah, parents with standards don't you love them. In absence of any input from anyone else, I spoke up, 'Please stop staring, it is rude.' He didn't stop. I knew that his parents heard me and they glanced and looked away. I guess they thought that it was under control. Now I was more forceful, 'Don't stare, you know better, now leave.' I was quite directive. My words broke the spell cast by my difference and he sauntered away. I looked over and saw Ruby's face looking up at me concerned. She doesn't often hear me speak harshly and I think it surprised her.
Suddenly, Ruby was up and out of her chair, she ran around behind me and then poked me in the side and then ran back around to the other side and poked me there and then ran around behind me and poked the original side. I think you see the pattern here. This is very unusual behaviour for her. For a second I thought the bran and chocolate was some kind of hallucinogen, as she was laughing a little wildly. This is taking longer to describe than it actually took to happen. She came and sat down quickly when asked to. She took her seat looking up at me and said, 'That was fun wasn't it?' I said that it was. She said, 'Good, now you don't have to remember that rude boy.'
Her work was done. I looked away from her fighting back tears. She had wanted to give me the gift of a new memory, of a happy time at breakfast. She wanted to replace the boy with the girl, the rudeness with the love. It's not possible to do that, not entirely, but it did make a difference.
I love how love works.
I love the power of love.
Love does not conquer all. Love does not make everything better. No. That's too much a burden to put on an emotion that comes in heartbeats. I understand all that, but love does matter Because it makes me realize that I matter.
More than I sometimes think.