Today, at the coffee shop, one of the waitresses felt it was too challenging to open a door with one hand and carry a plate with another. On the one hand, ok, that is annoying and this is her place of work. On the other hand, I’ve waited tables and had to open doors to patio seating with an arm full of plates, which I did, because I get that the people sitting inside are generally sitting there because it is cold and windy outside and they would like to eat their breakfast and drink their coffee in relative comfort.
So what? I mean, it’s not a big deal. So the door’s open. So, I can move tables. Or leave. Or go to the car to get a warmer jacket. (Which I eventually did). But for whatever reason this teeny tiny interaction got to me. I couldn’t focus and eventually, out of frustration and inexplicably overwhelming emotions, I cried over this.
I am a grown-ass woman who broke down in tears over a coffee shop waitress telling me the patio door had to stay open.
Sometimes we all fall apart at the seams a little bit. Lots of people try to deny it, and sure, some people are more emotionally labile than others, and today, I am, for a number of reasons, on the extremely labile end of the spectrum.
My chest tightened and a sharp pain overwhelmed my upper back, right in between my shoulder blades. Big, soft, salty tears cascaded down my cheeks.
So I got up and took a walk, down the tree lined streets, past rose bushes and rhododendrons, to clear my head and get a jacket.
On the way back I passed a short old man with a funny greenish hue on his round balding head and a spectacular white handle-bar mustache. I paused, contemplating some flowers, and absentmindedly reached back to rub the sore spot on my back.
"You have pain?" The small man was next to me now and put out his hand touching the exact spot on my upper back, right in between my shoulder blades. "Yes," I answered, surprised and curious. "Can I help you? Please. Five minutes," he spoke gently in happily broken english, motioning for me to follow him up the adjacent walkway.
I paused for a moment; checking in with my intuition, reading him, reading the situation. It checked out. He checked out. I followed him.
He had mats laid out in the middle of his small, cluttered, old-man apartment. A white board stood propped near the door with notes in spanish, phone numbers, and in the lower left hand corner the word “Exorcismo.”
I lay down on the mats. He crossed himself and as he put his hands on my back he muttered in spanish asking for help from the saints in healing me.
He told me how he had studied medicine when he was younger, but “I’m no rich,” he laughed, his eyes sparkling, his smile stretching the arc of his mustache even wider. He told me, as he squeezed my shoulders, that many people came here to him; some who couldn’t walk when they entered, and left supporting their own weight on their own legs.
He thanked me. I thanked him. He was so happy to hear my broken spanish he gave me a hug and thanked me again. I told him all my stuff was at the coffee shop, but could I buy him a coffee? He doesn’t drink coffee. Only tea. See? These two teas. He laughed, his eyes sparkling, telling me one of the teas is for loosing weight, holding his hands out and motioning a large belly getting smaller. His whole face smiled.
In the doorway he said, “Please, if you have more pain, come back, any time. I think maybe two more times.” He held up two fingers and repeated, “maybe for you two more times.”
"Ok," I said, "I will. Muchas gracias."