Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Living without love

Waiting in line to buy
junk food I did not need,
I was more than a bit befuddled to hear
the young clerk wonder:
"Would you rather have
love or money?"
It seemed a most out-of-place
inappropriate query to pose to
an absolute stranger who only wanted
a candy bar filled with sugar and calories
that would do me no good.
As I stood searching for
a response that seemed witty -
or someone germane -
or at least not totally inane,
she spoke again.
"'Would you rather have
love or money?'
That's what she asked.
And I said:
Love is too stressful."
My disorientation deepened.
Who was this mysterious woman
who posed to my clerk the question?
And what was going on?
Was she expecting a response from me?
From the guy stacking the shelves?
From someone I failed to see?
Was she practicing a soliloquy:
preparing to audition for some part
that might forever transform her life?
I'll never know.
Silently I took my change
and stepped toward the door,
but on the way,
a thought - unsaid, but still recalled,
filled my spirit, mind, heart:
love brings stress; it's never easy--
commitment, compromise, costs.
But what of the stress,
and what of the costs,
and what of the loss,
of the utter, empty barrenness
of living without love?

2 August 2011
Gate B-19, MDW

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