My mom was having a bad day.
It wasn’t anything in particular, but all the little inconveniences and frustrations had piled up and her brow was a deep furrowed line.
That day, I had to go downtown to run a few errands and, fearing going home to the wrath of an angry mother, popped into one of the most delightful stores in The District: Poppy. I perused for a few minutes, cuddling with the corduroy Armadillo baby toy, fingering the flower printed wrapping paper and stopping to gaze up at my favorite section: cards.
I am a sucker for the perfect card.
One of my few collections is a purple box filled to the brim of these with folded pieces of card stock, displaying a message meant for one person, in one moment.
The first card I ever bought from Poppy is still at the bottom of the box, waiting for its time. It has a baby blue back with a bright fuchsia front. The pink cutout creates a mountain of words, and a boy and a girl – holding hands and wearing berets – stands on top of it.
The blue paper behind shows through the pink and proclaims, “Can we? Shall we? One day, very soon. Let us go away together, just you and I, call in sick and go to the sea and hold hands all day, eat our sandwiches on the train, get drunk on fresh air and come home tired and never tell anyone … ever.”
It will live it’s life in the small purple box, along with it’s brothers of condolences, of happy birthdays and of corny love sayings.
But this trip to Poppy, I found a card perfect for that day. This card would have no purple purgatory. It wouldn’t even make it in the envelope.
It said, “It’s a cream soda kind of day.” The off white paper was decorated with a old style soda bottle, and a young girl in braids and a huge smile.
After I purchased my hundredth or so card, I ran to another Columbia favorite, Flat Branch Pub and Brewery. Although they are known for their beer, in my circles, the best thing on their menu is their homemade strawberry cream soda. I bought a pint.
I left the glass bottle, sticky and pink on the edges, leaving a ring on my kitchen counter. I propped the card up next to it, signing, “I hope this makes your day better mama.”
And long after the card was lost and the soda was consumed, I saw my mom smiling. Something so little — a pint of sweetness and a note — can change the entire direction of someone’s face. Suddenly, her day didn’t seem to terrible after all.
By Maria Kalaitzandonakes