I tried to act calm and collected as I fumbled through my wallet, searching, hoping and praying for just a few more coins. I missed my bus forty five minutes earlier, and after walking a few miles on foot, in the rain, I surrendered to the heavenly smell escaping a local donut shop. I stood there like a little girl, counting my change, unsure of what my mysterious coins could buy. The barista told me I had enough for four mini donuts, but he didn’t want to make eye contact too long, I could tell he felt pity on me. I was cold and wet and clearly out of money. I didn’t even tell him I had spent my morning cleaning houses, that I had missed my bus back home or that I just walked 30 blocks to get there and now that I had spent my bus fare on donuts, I had 50 more to go! I wanted to tell him my puffy eyes weren't from sad tears, and that I wasn't as bad as I looked, and that actually, I don't ever look THIS bad. I wanted him to know my tears were from a heart that ached joyfully for her children. A heart that knows too much joy to just stay put, and that with or without my consent this joy seeps out, rushes to my throat and fills my eyes until their shiny, sparkly, new. It's always been this way. I wanted to tell him I had two sweet girls waiting for me at home, and seeing their faces light up when they ate these donuts would be worth all my effort, 80 rainy blocks and all. But instead I asked him for the time, because my phone had just died. This didn't help my case, but my donuts were packaged up and ready, a genuine thank you would have to suffice.
I walked out with my coveted mini donuts, and a smitten grin. I felt alive, spontaneous and adventurous, just like I did before sleep deprivation and the ache of making ends meet. It's been a while since everything felt so simple, and I've started to resent the struggle in my life. It’s not struggle itself, it’s just that I’ve wanted to trade my struggles with someone else, mine feel so tired and worn. I've spent the last few months feeling like I've paid by dues, or that I've learned well and enough from my hardships. But 80 blocks and an hour and a half later, I felt a giddy rush of energy, and a deep sense of accomplishment that can only come from arriving home, one step at a time. Maybe I've been wrong, maybe there is more for me, right here in the struggle to make ends meet, because today was grounding and riveting, and most likely would have never happened if I had another $5 to my name.