The length of our faces is five eyes. So…I have a patient at work whom I have sort of despised. She gets on my nerves and under my skin each time she comes. She’s in her late 60’s, cantankerous – a curmudgeon. The first time she came at the front desk she told me she wore hearing aids, so I spoke more loudly to her. Then she told me I didn’t have to yell at her. I lowered my voice and repeated myself. She told me to raise it. Sigh. She complained about everything. Today she came to pick up her eyeglasses and I said a brief prayer before dispensing them to her. I did and she fussed, then told me that I was special. I looked at her expressionless. I wanted her to take her eyeglasses and leave already. She told me she was a retired mortician but her license was still active…just in case. She told me about growing up and her parents dying when her age was in single digits. An aunt cared for she and her siblings & kicked them each out when they turned 18. That’s the age the government cut off the checks. She explained to me the dimensions of the face & how they re-built faces if the deceased died from a facial gunshot wound or some other affliction which distorted their face. Unsolicited. I sat and listened, intrigued. When we were done, she handed me ten bucks for lunch, and ordered me not to give it back. Apparently she felt I would. She was right. She elbow bumped me instead of a hug because of COVID-19. Now I like her a lot, and hopefully this anecdote will end up in a story I’ll write. I also learned that people are more complex than their surfaces. Always be kind. Always know that there’s more. I swear I never have to go looking for story prompts or inspiration. They find me.
Until next musing,
Talitha K. McEachin