Every Christmas, I wish for world peace as if I were striving to make a selfless impression at a cheesy beauty pageant. This year I make a selfish wish. No guilt. No spotlight. Bare-chested on my knees in the privacy of my home. I pray for homeostasis in the bodies and souls of all who bravely fight the battle of their lives. I wish for peace at the molecular level: within our cells. I wish for cancer to shrivel up and join polio and the black plague as diseases of once upon a time. I wish my bosom buddy good health.
She looked like a no-nonsense businesswoman, with her arms stretched wide open holding up the Wall Street Journal. Snapping it straight each time she turned pages. Imagine the scowl that crossed her face when the bus filled up on the next exit. It was the look of annoyance when an important person becomes inconvenienced by life’s trivialities. Horror of all horrors, she’d have to share the seat with a commoner who listened to an iPod so loudly that she felt the pounds of the bass. To complicate matters, the unwelcome travelling companion nursed a tall Starbucks. Her clenched knuckles turned white.
The little girl looked back and waved goodbye to her mother. She then faced forward and folded her gloved hands on her lap, as if her teacher with the cat eyeglasses were once again repeating the daily drill between lessons, “keep your hands folded on your desks.” She couldn’t repress her excitement, evident in her fidgety fingers. It wasn’t everyday a little girl got a grown-up opportunity to travel all by herself. Years later when she’d recall that moment, she wished she would’ve lingered longer. How could she know that would be the last time she’d ever see her mother?