It is Sunday afternoon. I have the day off. It is the first warm day of the year and I am wearing my favorite dress for a warm day, thinking about how nice it feels to be wearing my favorite dress for a warm day on the first warm day of the year. The warm day came unexpectedly and there are lots of delighted people scattered up and down the sidewalks. I decide to walk downtown. All of my things are already together, so I grab my bag and get going. As soon as I begin to walk, I delight in the idea that maybe I’ll take more walks downtown now that the warm weather is here. I do not stumble on cracks in the sidewalk. Or maybe I do stumble, and it makes me laugh.
The forsythia are blooming and he is no longer president. We do not have a president because we have figured things out amongst ourselves. Everyone is more or less happy enough to, say, take a moment every now and then to stop and admire a cloud. To let a stranger go ahead of them in line if they seem to be in a hurry. People trust each other. I am wearing sturdy old shoes I am known by, I am feeling the sun on the back of my neck. On my way I pass people working in their gardens, eager to feel their fingers in the soil.
The town is buzzing; the locals are happy to see the visitors enjoying themselves; the visitors are all in good moods and leaving generous tips. I step through the open door of a calmly lit shop with a bird-shaped kite hanging in the window. The women behind the counter greet me and smile; one of them is arranging flowers in a ceramic vase.
I comment on how nice it smells and walk around the store slowly, touching every quiet object - watching how the sun hits the glass, how the pots cast shadows from their shelves. I try the perfumes, the oils and soaps. Three brass pens and one pencil sit by a scribbled pad in a corner. Each pen feels different in my hand; I relish their unfamiliar weights, the practical luxury of a brass writing implement. I screw off the cap of one pen, write a note among all the other absent scribbles from customers before, I write my name and the date - I was here. Or I draw a house, or a dog, or hello! or my name is this. Or some bad word that needs writing down and forgetting about.
I give each pen a try, smiling and nodding while the people behind the register tell me the story of where they were made. I leave them all behind and continue with my walk. Hours later when the first warm sun is setting and I am standing at the check out counter of a book store, purchasing a book I've been seeking out for ages and have found, here, at a reasonable price. The person working the register asks me to please sign here and hands me a pen attached to a large fabric sunflower with masking tape so nobody might steal it. I wonder about the need to sign at the end of a walk downtown, the flowers to come, the slow routine of a warmer day, the dinner smells I'll catch wafting from neighbors' kitchens while I mosey home.