Sears Appliance Salesman, 2002

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Sears Appliance Salesman

I stopped in Sears on the way home and ordered the washer/dryer unit I had been researching. It was an easy job for the salesman as I had been there before…but I asked him comparisons on two similar ones. Then I just picked the one I had figured I would, and we headed toward the cash register. Quick, easy sale.

He was giving me the info about the warranty, and they have a plan on right now where there is NO interest and you have a year to pay. I said, it was OK, we had money set aside for this. He brought it up one more time…in case I changed my mind…he said something…it’s sometimes good to keep the cash on hand if you have it, you never know. One thing led to another…and he was telling me how he lost his wife 6 years ago so he learned firsthand how unexpected things can happen. I suppose it might have ended there if I had just said…oh I am so sorry.

But of course, the revelation took my breath away, and I told him about Rebecca…also 6 years. He said his wife was 8 months pregnant…and he never got to see his daughter. He said the doc had given them a sonogram during the pregnancy and wrote on it..HI DAD. He said he had nightmares for several years…of that picture in the sonogram saying Bye, Dad. I told him about my awful nightmares when i couldn’t remember which of my four kids had died. We compared a lot of feelings in a short time.

He said he thinks we don’t realize how many people carry awful things like that..but we don’t talk about them so you end up feeling even worse. Needless to say…when the transaction was finished and we shook hands, it was a four handed shake, both of us clinging to each others hands…with …”good lucks.”

Funny, if it had been a woman, we probably would have hugged. Somehow standing in Sears appliance department, I didn’t think it would be right to be hugging the salesman….but that hugging has sort of become a symbolic gesture, I guess…when there is absolutely nothing to say and yet you have connected in such a powerful way by your separate tragedies, the wordless act of reaching out is the least and the most you can do.

And you realize that when someone reveals such things, it makes you feel less alone…even in the middle of Sears…two regular old people at Sears exposed their broken hearts and will be touched by the experience more than anyone will ever know.

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