It doesn’t snow that often in Mississippi. But the grocery store is the best place to find out it’s coming, because all of the milk and bread suddenly disappears.
All I knew was that the wind coming across the Kroger parking lot would bite at you. Like a fiest dog biting the calves of your legs.
Christina was on a mission that Saturday morning, too. She was up early, dobbed on some makeup in the car and made her way to Kroger. She had heard the news. She needed to get the mandatory bread and milk before it sold out.
“You have to!” she said. “It’s tradition.”
I loved stoned before daylight on Saturday morning. But it was diminishing now, and the aroma of Christina’s perfume and trying to keep up with one brown eye gone wild was bobbling my mind.
“What the hell is wrong with your eye?” I was shocked as the words rolled off of my tongue. Much to my surprise she didn’t seem to be caught off guard at all, but told me something about having a lazy eye.
“It doesn’t do that all of the time” she said. Sometimes it will settle itself in, and do just fine.
It happened when she was 6, or so in a an automobile accident that almost killed her.
“Anyway, I saw you when you passed me at the milk cooler.”
Even with that bright red lipstick that managed to hit her lips some times, she was easy to look at; and I couldn’t help but to laugh with her. She was as free as the wind.
The conversation moved to the upcoming snow, and she asked what I was planning to do?
“I hadn’t made any plans, I didn’t even know it was gonna snow?”
“I always make a big pot of chili when it snows” she told me.
I had learned my lesson from Alena. I would never forget to ask, again. “Are you married?”
“No” she said, “are you?”
“No, well a long time ago.”
I did’t think she was a push over, or easy, or anything like that. She wasn’t. We were just effortlessly hitting the same note that morning.
Between being high, and such a familiar conversation with a stranger, life was taking on a surreal tint. “Do you want to come over and eat a bowl of chili Monday if it snows?’ made it even more so.
The only people who work on snow days in Mississippi are the police and fire departments. We all stay home and drink milk and eat our bread. Except for Christina.
She eats chili with her bread and milk.
“Where do you work?” I asked. “I’m a school teacher. I won’t have to go to school if it snows” giggling like a 5th grade school girl.
“Give me your phone number, write it down on something, I don’t have a pen. Is that alright? Can I call you Monday? If it snows, I mean?”
She already had her head in her purse digging around for something to write with, still laughing softly. “Yes, if it snows call me and we will make a big pot of chili.” “But don’t call too early.”
I was totally beside myself on the way home.
“Wow, what just happened?” I think I asked out loud?