December 13 was a hell of a day and by the time evening rolled around, I realized I hadn’t written anything to share at Novella, the monthly writing club I’ve made a habit of attending. The night’s theme was “found,” so I dashed off a quick list of things I had found that day as I made my way downtown.
- This morning, I found the courage to tell my boss that I was leaving, that I could no longer grit my teeth and bear it, that enough was enough, and the thing is I like my boss and he’s an extremely cool dude so I did have to grit my teeth once more, just so that I didn’t cry, but I did anyway, just a bit.
- This afternoon, even amidst my tears, I found a deep belly laugh that rang out and sounded caught between a sob and a guffaw, and on second thought, I guess it was. I dialed up my best friend, who also happens to be my co-worker as well my co-commiserator for the past five years, and while she knew what I was going to do, when I told her that I’d actually done it, she brought her laptop to the kitchen, grabbed a coffee mug, and took one, two, three shots of Hennessy to toast me over video chat—did I mention we work from home?—and then we both wept and then she got drunk in record time and began to absolutely WAIL and then became very sleepy, all on a Wednesday afternoon, and I laughed through my tears because my God, she’s always been extra.
- This afternoon, I found a way to cope with all my competing feelings—which, coincidentally, is the way I typically deal with them—watch the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, while eating a sausage egg and cheese on a croissant and two doughnuts from the Dunkin’ Donuts around the corner from me.
- When I got home from Dunkin’ Donuts, I found a lumpy envelope in my mailbox along with some junk mail—something about travel insurance.
- While the credits rolled on that pilot episode, I found that upon examination, that lumpy envelope had a British Columbia return address, no name, and it was secured on all sides with heavy duty clear tape. I grabbed a pair scissors.
- When I cut the envelope open, I found that there was a long, thin cardboard sleeve inside taped closed.
- When I cut the sleeve open, I found that affixed to the inside were two neat rows of pins, ten in total, each one depicting a character, a logo, a reference to The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Mary, smiling in a red shift dress with a bold white collar; Phyllis and Rhoda, ying and yang, standing shoulder to shoulder with complementary and opposite facial expressions, hair styles, outfits; the kitten that mews to the best of its ability at the end of each episode—and then I cried again because somehow the universe saw fit to let me know that just like the song says, I might just make it after all.
- I tore the envelope apart, but I found no note, no way to let this stranger know just how much her kind gesture meant to me. I thought I’d tell you instead.