Pete pulls up to the Meijer entrance and opens my passenger door from the inside; I kick the slosh off my red boots and throw my bag in the backseat, after retrieving the greeting card from my purchases. It is not a very good card, but I am an hour late to work on account of the snow plow getting stuck at the end of my driveway, so I didn't have time to browse. The front of the card shows two rather adorable cartoon elephants, one giving flowers to the other with her extended trunk. It says, "Some friends make your day better..." (the inside:) "... and some friends make your life better. Thank you for doing both." It's for my boss, Renae, on her last day of work. My handwriting is hopeless on these slippery roads.
"I love this song," I say to Pete, even though he already knows how much I love this song. "I know," he says, even though he knows that I know that he knows, which is why he is playing it. I am trying to invert the u and l in wonderful (which I have spelled "wonderflu") when he says, "I have a confession to make."
"Yeah. Okay. So, you know how I don't like a lot of the music you like, and how I'll make fun of it?"
"Well, sometimes when you're not with me, I listen to it. Not because I like it, but because I miss you. That's my confession."
It is one of the sweetest things he's said to me. "Pete. That's one of the sweetest things you've said to me. I wish you would have said that to me some other time, because right now I need to finish writing this card." I can't think of the next sentence to write, so I stare at the elephants. Suddenly my face is contorted and I'm crying. I'm crying thinking about my husband listening to music that I love while he pines for me. And I'm crying because I finally realize that today is Renae's last day.
It's not just that she's a great boss. It's that my boss has been making my day better for two years. It's that on my first shift, Renae casually said, "I feel like I've known you my whole life instead of a few hours," which was exactly what I had been thinking at that particular moment. It's that Renae can sing either "Delta Dawn" or "One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus," and I immediately laugh, every time, for reasons that remain funny even though I've long forgotten them. It's that though I claim to like change, the truth is that I count on a few mainstays amidst the change, and Renae was a mainstay. Realizing that she is leaving while I think of Pete listening to Regina Spektor (whose voice grates on his nerves) is unbearable from a dry-cheek standpoint.
Crying would be sweeter if it didn't streak my face with mascara. The snow would be lovely if it weren't getting mauled by dirty tire tracks. This whole day has been one big mess of a storm, starting with the snow plow getting stuck in our driveway. It's been a mess of a storm, and I'm blessed to be weathering it.