The lovely lunch with my friend at Posana the gluten free restaurant in town. How very progressive to have a whole menu of delicious items including pancakes that are gluten free. We share salmon toast and a biscuit as we devour our own finely chopped kale salad with nuts and berries interwoven in. She provides me with gifts for my birthday past. A metal wheel that you spin for answers. Answers like Find your Joy, Rethink your Thoughts. A bag of muffins wrapped in a cloth bag that she warns me are more savory than sweet. We linger over our food before returning to the light rain. I walk her towards her car as I meander unhurriedly around side streets to my own.
I peer in a small shop that is hidden back in one of the coves of downtown and walk in. I have been spending a lot of money lately and feel a sense of guilt that maybe I need to slow down and not do this. It seems it is a reflex when I am happy. The smell of sage is wafting around the store even though the door is open to the outside. This smell keeps me rooted as I pick up books on witches, Samhaim which has just past the day before. I smell salves as I take it their lavender scent. A young woman, with long hair, a long skirt and searching eyes approaches me as if I need to be helped. Maybe they aren’t used to people lingering. I tell her I am just looking and she seems unconvinced but does step away. There are bags of herbs like mugwort, marshmellow root and elderberry. It is next to the tea pots and strainers so I assume for making tea. I shake the bags to see how much is in each and then see one for arnica. I think that maybe I will get some of this as my neck has been bothering me. I question the safety of arnica tea as I ask the woman, “Isn’t Arnica toxic if ingested?” Whimsically she says yes. Her colleague who is slightly hidden says quickly that it is safe as a tincture and can be used this way in very small dosages. I gasp silently that I could have bought this and accidentally poisoned myself drinking liberally as a tea. Making a potion too strong for ingestion. I wonder how many other people passing by could have made this same mistake?
Quickly I move away and go to the essential oil section and the flower essence one. Picking up and looking at each one. I check out the herbs and then feel a silent pressure from the girls that maybe it is time to move on. I get the sense that lingering customers are considered an oddity and their space is coveted as privately their own. The girl with the searching eyes and the ungrounded presence comes to the register and she is patient as I look at the cacao bars and the rose hip chocolate with dates as sugar. I am debating which one to get for myself and Mica. My neighbor whose birthday is at the end of the month. I decide to get the Rose hip one for me and the other for Mica both bars are vegan. (Mica has reluctantly given up dairy recently on the suggestion of her chiropractor.) I have put together a few goodies for Mica and feel less guilt about purchasing the bar for myself. The girl and I chat for a few minutes. She asks if I am local. (Are you in the inner circle of Asheville or an outsider the question implies, even though most of us have started out as tourists and they are the ones who sustains the viability of this town.) She is in school studying and searching for her purpose.
I intuitively see a cloud of a man hovering over her and his presence has an ominous quality. I have just told her that I am a nurse so don’t want to give her the sense I am too out there but cannot resist the urge to ask—“is there someone in your life?” She needs for me to repeat the question. “a man?” I ask. She seems slightly daunted by my question as she answers that yes, they just met when she was in Hawaii. He came back with her to Asheville. Their relationship is platonic but it’s moving to something else, she thinks. I pause and reflect if I should let it go and not speak. I get the sense that he isn’t leaving soon and she might be even more lost without him but at the same time…she speaks for me and says, “I need to pay attention.” I tell her yes with silent emphasis, this is it. I stare into her dreamy eyes and say, “Yes, pay attention.” She hears me and smiles. I back out of the store. She asks, “What is your name?” Her reply to mine is “Lucy.” I bow to her slightly as I say, “nice to meet you, Lucy.”