Sadness in the neighborhood

I bought a winter topcoat at the thrift store last night, and this morning, I took it to the dry cleaning shop around the corner to get it altered and cleaned. On the way in, I noticed the shop was for sale.

I told the little old Polish lady I wanted the sleeves let down, and she kept saying she would take them up. “No, no, I want them let down,” I said.

She burst into tears. “I’m sorry, I can’t concentrate,” she said with a thick accent. “My husband is dying of brain cancer. The doctors, they think he’ll go before Christmas. I sell the store, it’s too much.”

Another one! Where is all this brain cancer coming from? I told her I was sorry, that I would say a prayer for his peaceful passing.

“I lost my mother a year ago, too,” she said, her eyes welling. “My husband, he walk like this.” She walked back and forth, slowly and stiffly. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. Forty-one years, we are married.”

“I’ll say a prayer,” I said again. “I’m very sorry for what you’re going through.”

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