I was in the drug store the other day and speaking with the pharmacist whom I’ve known for quite some time.  It was an interesting conversation which evolved from the simple discussion about an account issue to things more personal, not an unusual twist really, it has happened before.  Until recently I hadn’t known she was divorced, that she was going through a divorce several years ago and, I believe, was having a terrible day when I stopped by one afternoon.  It was an interesting encounter and quite unexpected really.  The day before I had lunch with someone whom I met through an online dating site.  For that meeting I bought a modest bouquet of flowers but had forgotten to take them with me, and, while the lunch was quite pleasant, it was clear we would not see each other again.  Upon returning home I found the flowers and began to wonder about their fate.  I decided that since she had done a number of things for me, helped in many ways, I would take them to the pharmacist whom I will call Diane. Her reaction was quite surprising and, more so, unexpected.

Stepping back, the story of Diane and I began some years earlier when I was first diagnosed and I stopped in to get a prescription filled, the first of the many prescribed me at the outset.  She was interesting and I learned she also  possessed a very diverse background.  I also learned she had been a parole officer, pretty different in my view.  The latter became the basis of our conversations, it was that experience that I exploited to help a young friend challenged by a system into which he fell for what amounted to a childish prank while drunk with some friends.

Over the years Diane and I discussed various things, work, her nephew recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, she knew of my son, and other things in my life.  I always enjoyed our conversations, sometimes light, other times more substantive.  She has, as I learned, a breadth of experience and some exoteric perspectives; all very intriguing.

Of the many things which we touched upon in our conversations, we often touched on our ‘divorce’ experiences, never really getting specific, but dancing around the topic with generalities. She exhibited, as do most divorced people, some very common perspectives, some things which we all, those of us experienced with divorce, seem to feel, things which often damage us while concurrently facilitating some degree of growth. It was clear we shared things.

One day when I went into the store Christine began asking me about my prostate cancer, about some things that were very specific.  As with most people I know, I responded quite matter of factly, outlining the specifics of my illness and the approaches taken to address my situation.  She asked questions, asked about the alternatives and then informed me about her father, a recently retired M.D. diagnosed with PCa.  I then began asking her some questions, attempting to better answer her questions through a gathering of data, which, as it turned out, she was unable to provide. I then returned to generalities, offering the plethora of alternatives dependent on his condition.  She was thankful and in some ways, I felt some degree of redemption, some degree of ‘payback’ for all the help she had provided me.  I think we became somehow connected, in some way an extension by the experiences we shared, not directly, but indirectly.  We continue to talk and it seems that when I go to the store and she is there, she makes a point of serving me and we talk, mostly superficially, but at times more.

So that is the story of Christine and our ‘relationship’.  It has been an interesting evolution and one in which I learned, learned things about myself, and about Christine.  It was, only after this journey with Christine that I understood her ‘unexpected’ reaction, that which my instincts told me were true at the time but which I denied acting upon thinking she was still married.  Her reaction to the flowers – she out from behind the counter and approached me for a hug. We didn’t, but it was clear we should have, that at that moment we connected, at that moment we had, a relationship; something that seems to persist.

Happy reading, happy thoughts and happy trails.

As always, feel free to comment or you may email me at lifeabstractions@gmail.com



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