I Confess by Alison Luterman
I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
the way she placed yogurt and avocadoes in her basket,
beaming peach like the North Star.
I wanted to ask “What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years, or how to live alone,
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess
some knowledge that makes the earth burn and turn on its axis—”
but we don’t request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”
At the cafe this morning, I was reminded of the above poem (from writing class this week) when the couple, THAT couple walked in. They are in their fifties and are always smiling. I see them at cafes all around Berkeley and they are usually holding hands, smiling knowingly at each other and just generally blissed out. They are starting to look like brother and sister, melded into one another by some invisible thread.
They are not exactly annoying, just fascinating. I am curious about them. The first several times I wondered if it was a first date? but now, years later, that story doesn’t hold up. Now I wonder other things, like if they possess some secret about how to stay joyous and connected and in apparent consistent gratitude for the blessings in life? Does staying caffeinated have anything to do with it? Do they have jobs other than traveling from cafe to cafe loving each other? I hold these questions in my heart as I watch her take a bite of his sour batard smothered with herb butter. If I find out, I’ll let you know.
Andrea, this poem and this post speak to me so much! I have to confess, much like a stalker, I once took a picture of a family that made me feel this way. Just so I could look at it again without staring a see if there was anyway to *know* what they seemed to *know* by looking! Ok, i am now going to get arrested!
Ooooh you have to go over and ask them. I’m sure they would be so delighted to share their bliss secrets. Let them know a romantic young woman in New Hampshire is waiting on the edge of her seat. BTW I adore your photo. What gorgeous colors, intriguing subject, and awesome composition.
I love coffee shop people-watching.
I’ve also loved Alison Luterman’s poetry from years of reading The Sun.
It’s almost better to ponder these mysteries than to solve them.
I want to know!! Ask them!! 🙂
I would like to ask someone ‘what aisle did you find your serenity in’ today. Visiting here and reading this post has been a little rest for my soul. Thank you.
what is that in the picture, fruit? so cool!
What a lovely poem. 🙂
You are so great.
The poem is edible.
And you ask all the right questions.
I love this. Yes, I want to know, too!!
The one thing a stranger said to me in a supermarket was that she heard me coming (my shoes needed reheeling and were very noisy). Not quite the same thing as asking about serenity I know!!
However, I do find that looking happy and peaceful encourages people to smile, say hello and look you in the eye – although it could be because I live in Padstow, Cornwall in the UK which is a small fishing town on the coast, laid back and pretty friendly,
Thank you for always being so honest and true.
I am going to try hard to make it to your Superhero class in May.
Ask! You won’t regret it. And we need these conversations, this shared wisdom and this fearlessness that says ‘I see you and I honour you’.
Reading your blog never fails to move me in some way that I need to be moved on that day.
I wonder do you know how wonderful you are?
Ask them.. I want to know too 🙂
Promise me that you will keep me on the short list of people you will share their secret with. I soooooooo want to know how to create and maintain that connection.
What a beautiful story.
You made me smile. And cry a bit. Such a tender post! And so strong! This is why I looooove you and your blog!!!
I so want to be that woman in the cafe, in that relationship, smiling like that – a life dream of mine. I don’t see couples like that here in Toronto – maybe Berkeley is different? 🙂 I would love it if you asked them about it – I agree that they would probably be happy to tell you. Very inspiring to hear.
Great post. I stumbled into your blog via cultivate by Chrissy and read this beautiful post. All the reason why happiness matters, not only to us but for others who may be looking. Don’t be afraid to ask…..please.
This makes me hurt a little. Beautifully sweet.
Awesome. I just wanna know if they have kids 😉
If I may venture forth with a little insight…my husband and I do get stopped by people wanting to know why we look so happy….to tell us that we appear to be enjoying each other’s company immensely. We have also been stopped over the years even with our three kids in tow, to tell us what a lovely family we are. I don’t know that we consider ourselves “happy” people, but when we are together, we are with the person (people) that we most want to be with in the whole wide world. When we have the time to go to coffee and gaze at each other, it’s like a little present from the Universe…stopping the clock on all of the rushing…just enjoying the moment of being with our very best friend. We have our problems, our stresses our sadness…but with each other, we are bolstered and we try not to let the extraneous get in the way of the absolute adoration we hold for each other. We are not perfect, our kids are not perfect, but a huge sense of humor lightens most troubles. Morning sex, afternoon sex, midnight sex, wild sex, sweet sex, long drawn out sex, quickie sex….yes, any and all of those will certainly keep a smile on your face. Lastly, don’t marry somebody or stay with them for any other reason than that you love them, and they you, the very most of all. Money, status, looks, etc…none of those alone or primarily can sustain a long term love affair. We haven’t been together for an eternity, but twenty years and counting seems to be saying a lot in these days.
I think you should approach them . . . and do a photo shoot of them! And find out all their secrets!
I don’t normally comment but I gotta admit appreciate it for the post on this great one : D.