Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .


There are ephemeral moments in life that defy description and reason simply by lack of concrete definition.
Although they are minute slices of microcosms in time they occasionally scream at me
to look more closely at them.
These serendipitous moments come random and unannounced;
I have missed many because I wasn’t paying attention,
too preoccupied with some other curious ripple in the darkest oceans of my life.
Today was different.
I was listening.
What happened today was a very short and simple conversation with a woman I have never met before.
I don’t make this stuff up it just happens.
A Godwink?
She came into the store early this morning wearing a long black parka with a fur-lined hood.
The icy Boston rain had her wearing said hood, therefore hiding her face.
She told me she was hoping to find some empty cigar boxes outside the store but that she was sad because there were none.
(We always put the empties outside where passersby can just take them)

Hang on, I said, I think I have a few in the back.

I went and came back with two small wooden cigars boxes with sliding lids.
They were made out of Spanish cedar and smelled wonderful.
Looking back on this morning, it’s ironic that one of the cigar boxes had the name ‘Illusione’ on the top of it.

I have these, I said, handing her the boxes.

Oh, my, she said, this is just what I wanted.
Thank you so much.

No problem, I said.

Before she turned to leave, she looked up at me.
Under the fur-lined hood I saw a distant and almost yesterday version of my mother’s face.
She smiled and softly said, ‘love you’ and made a *mwah kissing sound as she left.
Love and free cigar boxes usually do not go together.
I stood there in the middle of the empty store with ridiculous goosebumps.
She even sounded like my mother, for Christ’s sake.
I could see what I wanted to see and hear what I wanted to hear.
Maybe I’m going out on a limb here making all these iffy connections,
seeing and hearing things that may not even be there.
To think and believe the actual possibility is dreaming and maybe sadly inconsequential is justified
but this morning I was a true believer in existential possibility.
I ‘heard’ the voice of my mother say ‘love you’ for the sake of two wooden cigar boxes.
Some days you have to take what life gives you and today,
I think I did just that . . .


  1. If you see them, then they’re there…the equation is quite simple.
    I do have a theory, but I’ll put it in an email my friend…
    Great post BTW….I love posts like this as you know.
    Can’t get enough of them actually….

  2. I do believe that your mom knew that you needed to feel her connection..I am not surprised that it was at the store.
    A mom is a mom always and even if she is not physically here,I believe that she will make her presence known .That is a very comforting because it is meant only for you to feel.
    She has not forgotten how to love.

  3. Now I have goosebumps, too. I am with you in the belief that that was your Mom connecting with you. AND what a connection it was! It just shows how strong your love was/is! I think IS, is the better word, because it’ll always be there. … your girls, Pam, your music, your cooking….everything! Thanks for sharing this! It made my day! It brought sunshine to a cloudy, rainy Tuesday!!! :-)

  4. I think they are like rare jewels, or beautiful iridescent soap bubbles. Fragile, grasp it gently lest it break apart.

  5. Michael, the reverse of this happened to me just this past Friday night! My sister and I went to a restaurant, and shortly after we were seated, a young college-aged guy (real cute, too, like a young Donnie Osmond) came up and said to me, “Excuse me. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what is your name?”
    I thought, oh, no. Well it won’t hurt to tell him my first name. And told him. He said he had seen me standing up front and just had to come see – that I looked just like his mother, who had passed away a year and a half ago! My sister said she had noticed him staring at us while we had been waiting to be seated. I told him, “Well, you don’t look like my son.” While I was thinking “what is this guy up to? Is he conning us?” my sister was saying things like “isn’t that special” and “I hope it brings back good memories.” Unlike me, she’s a talker. I did say, “Well, now that you came over and see me talk a little, you probably don’t think I’m so much like your mother, do you?” (okay, maybe I’m a pessimist. but I see both sides of things.) He had guts to come check me out. If he was trying to get more out of us, I’m sure he realized it wouldn’t work (since I already had a son and was telling him how I bet I wasn’t REALLY like his mom when he got up close.) Wow, I’m really a party pooper, aren’t I? He didn’t stay long.
    But that was a “first” for me. Kinda strange…

    Y’all just put those boxes out on the sidewalk, huh? If I lived around there, I’d be by quite regularly! :love:

  6. Goosebumps!!! Quite an amazing story. I think your Mom was preparing you for what was to come.

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