Chapter 8: One Month

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Phillip

I was scanning the books in the Diet, Health & Fitness section at the Barnes & Noble close to my condo. I did this once a month to stay up on all of the new health fads, not because I wanted to join them, but because I liked to research them so that I was knowledgeable about what I told my clients when they came to me with questions.

I finally settled on The Plant Paradox by Stephen R. Gundry, after skimming through it and began to walk towards the checkout desk to purchase it. While on my path to the line, somebody slammed right into me. I was a pretty mellow guy, so I was more concerned if the person was okay than the impact of their clumsiness.

When I looked down and saw the stunned doe-like eyes on a face I had been trying to forget. I knew then that God was a woman and that she was playing a practical joke on me by constantly putting this woman in my path.

"I'm so sorry," Joy said her face reddening before my eyes. "I wasn't paying attention."

"It can get like that in here sometimes," I noted the addiction of being around an endless number of books.

"Who are you telling?" She said her lips curving into a smile. "I came in here to get one or two books and I'm leaving with six," her light laughter filled the quiet aisle.

"What do we have?" I gestured at the stack of children's books in her hands.

"We have I am Enough, Ada, Twist Scientist, The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, Mix it Up, A Bad Case of Stripes, and Jabari Jumps." She rattled off, lifting each book enough to read the title.

"Somebody is going to be happy tonight," I acknowledged.

"My daughters," she agreed with a nod. "They want me to write and illustrate a children's book of them as superheroes, so I'm trying to do some research to get some ideas."

"I didn't know you were an author?"

"I'm not," she held up a hand to stop me from assuming further. "I teach art. I actually just came from teaching a  class at the YMCA.

"Really?" I asked even more intrigued by her.

"I teach classes at the youth and community centers all around the triangle," she gestured. "In one of my classes, I'm having my students create a superhero based around themselves and my daughters decided that they wanted me to do the same for them."

"Well, when your mom has artistic talent like that, you have to take advantage."

"Do they?" She began to laugh. "I can't even tell you how many times I've had to create murals for their bedroom because they constantly want to change to something different."

"They sound adorable."

"They are," she said her tone filled with pride. "Which is why I'm going to try and do this for them even though I don't know what the heck I'm doing."

"I'm sure it will turn out better than you expected."

"I hope so," she shrugged. "What are you reading?" I lifted my book so that she could read the cover. "The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in 'Healthy' Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain. It doesn't look like you have any problems with eating," she said. I noticed her move the stack of books over her stomach area and remembered her being self-conscious about that area that night.

"I try to keep up with what's going on with all of the new diets," I shared with her.

"I probably need to pick one of those up, too," she said jokingly.

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