On my way home from my prenatal yoga class this evening I stop at the grocery store and tear around like a mad-woman, grabbing milk and bread and batteries at 4-minutes-past-closing-time. When I reach the register I am the only person left in the store apart from the cashier–an older woman with a stocky build and thin white hair in an unfortunate pixie cut that makes her closely resemble The Albino from The Princess Bride.
“I’m so sorry, I’m keeping you open!” I say, as I breathlessly throw my basket on the belt.
“No, we’re open until 10,” she responds, calm and distracted. “Not like Donellan’s over in Acton–they close early on Sundays. But we close early on Sunday’s as well,” she continues, thoughtfully. “We close at 9 0n Sundays. But lots of places close early on Sundays,” she finishes, by way of explanation.
I notice her name tag reads ‘Louise’, and I have a strong urge to blurt out something like “We were thinking about calling our daughter Louise, for a while, but we’ve moved on now to something else.” Instead I laugh a little–one of those inadvertent, primeval sort of laughs that come out when you’re alone in the house, or on the subway in the middle of the night–because how bizarre would it be, and what explanation would she have to offer me, for her own name?
On the drive home WCRB is playing Mendelssohn’s fifth, and the road is so blustery and wild it’s like a spooky October night–like something at the end of the year, not March, just after the spring equinox. I flick my headlines on and off to keep the right one on, and slow down on the curves to dodge pellmell-swirling leaves, because one of them might be a mouse, or a frog, or something else alive.
Out of the corner of my eye, and then illuminated in my sometimes-working headlight, a gray fox watches me pass. I am filled with a great love for all the beings out in this wild night–the fox, Louise, the gathered pregnant ladies of my yoga class with their pony-tales and awkward shuffles.