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Love hit Tony like a freight train. Now, following a three-month courtship with a Chinese woman, he is living near Tibet. His family is distraught, but I say if he wants to herd yak for the rest of his life, that’s his business.

Tony’s sister is my ex-wife Cathy, now happily remarried. She had reason to be unhappy with me. Like her brother, I was doing too much yakking and not enough working.

None of us is a perfect match, although some online matchmakers would like to think so. I believe that relationships are just another way we can learn about ourselves. That was my thought anyway as I drove past the frozen corn. Off to my right were the ice cream bars. Some product placement specialist had decided that in this supermarket, the two should be across the aisle from each other — parents reaching for one while the kids grabbed the other. Genius.

My first shopping trip in a motorized cart was revealing in so many ways. First, with a flip of the switch, you could make people dive out of the way. I never would, of course, but I have that option. Then one can accelerate his speedster to 3 mph and grab the string cheese without stopping. Personal sized watermelons are trickier because, as in basketball, you have to have both hands ready for an inbound pass from the fruit section.

For the first time since June, I was actually in control of something, the cart taking me where I wanted. You give that freedom up when you sign in to a hospital and again when you are home-bound for heart care.  Everyone wants to control you so they won’t worry so much. When it is finally yours again, freedom is a blessing.

In that supermarket, I finally had mine and in that motorized shopping cart, I was a zephyr on the open road. I felt the breeze past the eggs and milk and heard the purring of cat lovers near those tiny cans of feline treats.

It reminded me of my family drives through Pepperwood and past the beaches of the Lost Coast. Yahindi, my Dominican wife, did not understand my English nor I her Spanish. Sometimes one didn’t have to say a word to appreciate love’s presence. But sometimes in those long silent lapses, doubt creeps in.  Maybe she regrets this chance she took on love, a crazy old guy in a town with no merengue.

I stopped by the flower stand, buying roses for her because at home, I don’t always find the right words at the proper time. Small cracks in a relationship can become a canyon.

I do know that I needed food. So in that battery-driven lightning bolt, I rocketed alone down the supermarket aisles, celebrating life as never before. How I long to fully share that love.

I have been reaching out to people who once loved me and still do. A former spouse told me that a strong relationship takes practice and hard work. It has taken her years to realize that. In another time, we might have made it together a married couple. Still, it brings me great comfort that we are friends.

I also realize that I am not crazy to believe in the improbable — that a woman from another country as Yahindi is could be happy with me. That happiness is possible but not guaranteed with the green card.

I do believe it will always be there between us. That’s good enough for me.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to go motorized shopping again.

Dave Silverbrand’s columns and other writings are available on his website, www.davespeople.com.


 

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