Taylor loved Target, often calling it Tar-jay. She especially loved going to Target with me once she had enrolled in college. Going to Target with me meant I was buying groceries. It meant I might splurge and grab a $5 movie from the last-minute-impulse-buy-me rack the store strategically places right before the check out counter. Target trips meant a twelve pack of Dr. Pepper, ingredients for tortellini, or a box of KIND bars - just because. Target can make me smile, or it can reduce me.
I went to Target after my five and a half mile walk at the gym. So it was past nine and the store fairly empty. Most of the lanes were closed except isle 7. As I approached the lane, the movie bin caught my eye. Taylor Renee might as well been there with a manipulative plea because Pitch Perfect 2 stopped me in my tracks. I thought about the wit, the sarcasm, the simple joy that would ensue when I finally gave into "the need" for this movie and placed it in the cart. Her "Tanks Mama!" and subsequent text to Josie complete with a pic of the movie nestled in the red cart alongside the other goodies I would send south to Norman would warm my heart.
I didn't buy the movie, but I thought about it. There are only about 30 minutes in the whole production worthy of the Pitch Perfect 1 - so I just couldn't do it. The sequel seldom matches the original.
However, in front of me in lane 7 was a mom and her son, Daniel. Daniel might have been three. Happy, talkative, and interested in what mom was unpacking from the cart in which he rode, Daniel held tightly to a Target toy, almost as big as he was -a stuffed animal in the form of Max - a character from a recent animated movie. He talked to Max and loved on Max burying his face in Max's white center, contently waiting on mom to finish her purchase. The mother's purchase was large and complicated; she must have been buying for a day care as well as her home. She would apologize, tell me it would be a while and apologize again. I didn't care; I watched and listened to Daniel talk to Max.
When Mom put Max up on the counter for the cashier to scan the price tag, she looked at the price and told Daniel that Max was not going to be able to go home with them. She said Max had to stay at Target and play there. Daniel picked up Max, handed it to mom and confidently said, "Bye Max! You stay Target."
Mom thanked me for being so patient and began to pull away. I told her one more time, "no worries!" and I whispered to the cashier to scan Max for me. She looked at Max. scanned the tag, and watched me place Max next to Daniel in the red Target cart. His blue eyes peered carefully at me beneath the thick strands of brown boy hair brushing his soft forehead. They pulled away, and I waved - his mom still trying to get him to say "Thank you".
The cashier said, "I have never seen anything like that happen."
So I told her the story of the impetuous red head who loved Target and the spontaneous, unnecessary purchase of a $5 movie. I stumbled through the story that we lost her to a drunk driver a year ago and that instead of a movie, Max got to go home with Daniel, and for a few moments that joy of the the Dr. Pepper and the movie and the text and pic and the "Tanks Mama!" re-entered my heart.
Sentencing occurs Wednesday. We will read our Impact Statement for Judge Musseman and close one more chapter of a book we never wanted to read or write.
"Breathe of heaven hold us together, be forever near us, breathe of heaven." Thanks for your prayers.