I awoke this morning before my alarm. This is unusual because I rarely set an alarm. Typically I wake whenever and just get up. Decide what I’m going to do that day and then take two hours to start. But last night, I thought I should be a little more pro-active.
Anyway. I, most often, get out of bed and pour a glass of Coke Zero before I put on any clothes (those with coffee addictions will understand this, those with moral outrage towards artificial sweeteners will not). This morning however there was no room temperature bottle to be had. Therefore, I had to dress. Since it is well before 10:00 and have not showered I scrounge the floor for whatever clothes were dropped there the night before, find a cap to spare the outside world of the horror that is my hair pre-product, grab the keys and stuff my pockets with spare change and head to the shop.
Today is meant for finishing up my taxes and hitting that all important “Submit” button to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. In other words this trek to retrieve caffeine is almost government sanctioned. The rotating men behind the counter at my local must see me coming through the door and already know how much my contribution to their till will be. There is a well worn path from the front door that arcs round to the left to the refrigerated section where I find bottles of chilled Zero Sugar Coca-Cola - £1.89 or 2 for £3.00. The path carries me back round to the clerk(s) who barely nod as I give them my pre-counted handful of change. I exit the shop with just as much un-ceremony.
This walk to and from said shop usually takes two minutes and thirty seconds to three minutes and twenty seconds (the longer time refers to the homeward leg because I have the life affirming elixir in hand and feel that a leisurely stroll is appropriate).
This morning, being well before 8:00, I meet several business types and school children as they slog their way to the train station. Nothing unusual for a Monday morning. There is a mother walking hand in hand with her not quite three-year old daughter. Both are bundled up from head to toe (it is January after-all) and both are all smiles (obviously forgetting that it is January).
Just as I pass them heading the other direction, I hear the mother ask the most extraordinary question. “Do you think you will find any more puddles?”
Without hesitation with all the happiness in the world she replies:
“Yes! There will be more puddles!”
The joy that this phrase carries as it emanates from this little girl bursts through me like an arrow of light. Piercing me as if to say “Yeah, Stupid! You just need more puddles”. I turned to watch them and feel the smile heat up my face. I continued to head home and discovered what must have prompted this question there in the middle of the path and about the size of a dinner plate. The puddle.
This smile, this arrow, this joy, this puddle struck me so much that I couldn’t get home fast enough to write down this glorious memory before it faded. Of course I had to pour a glass of the world’s greatest soft drink before the memory faded. But here it is. A little secret just for you. Life just needs more puddles.