Monday, I cleaned the apartment and readied it for the new tenant. Tim worked down at the renovation. The kitchen has a bank of five windows, side by side, facing the river and I threw them open to the river breeze blowing in. It made the scrubbing and polishing far more pleasant, that is for sure. It is a pretty kitchen, and I rehung the clean cafe curtains and enjoyed watching them fluttering. A storm was approaching.
That was then. This is now. Today, 48 hours later, it's snowing. Amazing. (There may or may not have been unfortunate words uttered).
Yesterday, I painted at the renovation, and today, I was back at the apartment I was cleaning. I had a carpet to shampoo. I thought that I had enough shampoo, but it turned out that I did not, so I ran to a local big box store to get it. While there, I decided to get the makings for sandwiches for lunch. It is unnecessary to rush home to cook at noon when we are so busy . I had a craving for a tomato for my noon sandwich, and so I picked one up. Imagine my amazement to get to the register and discover that one lone tomato cost 53 cents. It wasn't even a large one!
Something else happened.
When Tim and I were first married, things were quite rough, financially. We both worked multiple jobs to keep five children fed and clothed. One of the jobs that I had was cleaning at a local resort owned by a well-to-do woman. We went to the same church, and she thought she was doing me a great charity. She was. I worked hard. I cleaned not only their huge house but the resort rentals as needed.
One of the things that became very evident was that she had a problem with addicted to opiates. It was my first experience with an addict, and sometimes it was scary. Once I was certain she was going to die. She had laid on the couch for 6 hours while I cleaned, never waking, never moving. Before I left, I called her husband at the office to tell him that I was leaving but was worried about his wife. He told me that he knew she had a problem but he couldn't do anything about it.
Long story short, it got very uncomfortable. She felt strongly that her husband was having an affair with another one of the women who worked for the business and pumped me for information. I honestly did not believe it and never saw anything to indicate that this was happening, and told her so, again and again, believing that her drug problem was causing her to be paranoid. Then her husband began to pump me for information as well. I began to get suspicious, but the alleged mistress was a friend, and she assured me that there was no affair.
Foolishly, I simply believed my friend.
When the affair finally was exposed, the well to do woman assumed that I had been lying to her right along. Her husband's mistress lost her job. I lost mine because she refused to have a liar in her house. Moreover, she was a big shot at the church and she took her story there. The church gossips in her circle were horrified at my alleged dishonesty.
Losing the extra income provided by the job made life difficult, but even more difficult was the fact that I was a pariah in the church. I lost my job as a Sunday school teacher. My reputation took quite a beating and it was a humiliating time. I tried to talk to the pastor who took the woman's side and said maybe this church was not a good fit for me.
Months later, that well-to-do woman was in the newspaper. She had been caught at another well-to-do friend's house stealing the woman's opioids. She was arrested. The pastor stopped in that day. I was trying to catch up on laundry. He never said why he was there, but he was very pleasant and kind.
Later when I read the paper, I figured out why. I didn't blame him. He was a young pastor. He had been duped. I sure knew how that felt, but I never did go back to that church.
Anyways, the point of this rambling story is that a few years back, I saw this woman and she was so pleased to see me. She wanted to chatter on. I was not interested in chit chatting with her, so I made my excuses. As I was pushing my cart away, she said, affronted, "I don't know why you are so short with me," and I turned to her and said exactly what I meant to say. "I had no idea about your husband. Not one clue. I was minding my own business and working, and when it all came out, you lied about me. You forced your husband to fire me at a time when I needed the money. You got me drummed out of the church. You made my life miserable for a couple of years over this."
And she said, "Well, you have to understand. I had a serious drug problem. I couldn't help it." She added a little reminder that, as a Christian, I was required to be forgiving.
I was amazed. I turned to my cart and left her in mid-lecture.
Today, as I was being amazed by the price of a greenhouse tomato, I heard a cheerful "Hi Debby!" I looked up, and there she was, looking much older, and not at all like the well to do woman of 25 years ago. She smiled beatifically at me.
I said hello. Nothing more. I turned back to my groceries as they were rung up.
But inside my own thoughts, once again, I was amazed.