The Zero Mile Post marked the meeting of two railway lines and possibly the beginning of the city of Atlanta. Zero Mile is a series of sometimes fictionalized and sometimes real stories based on life in Atlanta, Georgia.
I went in search of one good thing this week. I will be honest. Some weeks I do not find it. Not one bit. Not one inch. Not one moment of goodness comes my way. I continue to look. Not just each week, but each day. Every hour. I look for goodness.
This week I decided to find it.
I sat on the deck in my mom’s backyard. Dozens of military planes flew overhead. The sun set in the distance and trees surrounded us. The aircraft were heavy in the air and loud with sound. I felt calm, but also conflicted. They were warbirds not built for peace, and yet I felt at peace. I imagined the people who saw these airplanes many years ago in times of war and in times of liberation.
I can’t change what happened before me, but I can sit out in the open air of time and space and find one good thing for everything bad.
If you are feeling blue, I will ask you about your nickname. Some people despise nicknames, and honestly, I can’t trust those people. A nickname, like your club name, is a good way to escape from the reality of your world. Chances are good I have a nickname for you that you don’t know about. If you ask me for a nickname, I will assign one to you.
I exchanged a smile with a stranger in the airport. I exchanged a laugh with a stranger on the airplane.
I pondered what keeps people strangers and what might make them a friend.
I found out that my daughter and I both have a crush on Ralph Macchio. I cannot remember a time in my life where I didn’t have a soft spot in my heart for that man. Then I got worried. What if I found out he was a terrible person? What if he said mean things? What if he hurt people? So I froze time. Me at 13 and my daughter at 13. I had posters on my wall of cute actors and dreams in my head for the future. Ralph Macchio was one of my good things this week.
I gave a stranger a book. She said she never read for fun.
I am 30 pounds heavier than I should be. I feel heavy. I feel the severity of the world surrounding me. But I look at my body in the mirror and feel pretty. I cannot carry the weight of the world on my shoulders forever. I’m no Atlas. But maybe for a little while it is okay.
I said this, “I am protesting nothing. I am angry at nothing. Today. This day only.” I felt better for that day. All day.
I see people and ask, “How are you?” More often than not they cut the crap and say, “Terrible.”
My marriage is failing.
My job is killing me.
I am worried about my kid.
I am thankful for that marriage however in disrepair.
I need that job, it has its good points.
The world is overwhelming us, but I am willing to be candid and authentic and raw and in pain.
I’m glad I’m no longer in the world of, “Fine, thanks. And how are you?” This is good. I tell myself it is good so it becomes that.
I wish I could take one good thing and multiply it into a thousand. I wish I did not have to sift through the bad to find something good.
I will sift and look. I will give you a nickname if you ask me.
Nicki Salcedo knows the loops and the back roads of Atlanta. She is a novelist, blogger and working mom. Zero Mile stories appear on the Atlanta Loop on Wednesdays.