The store was crowded though outside a gray rain was falling and it was barely 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
But it called me straight back, past the shoe aisles with boots that normally catch my eye, past racks of dress pants and blouses and perfect-for-fall-days-at-work dresses.
Straight back the aisle, until I stood nearly at eye-level with it:
An old-yellow pitcher, small, maybe holding a quart or so.
I saw summers pouring iced coffee into tall glasses; flowers nodding over its rim; white milk into short, fat glasses with pancakes.
I fell in love for $3.99.
And that is why, for weeks leading into months, I’ve been waiting for T.J. Maxx to open, eager, anticipating.
The rain was still falling and that pitcher was the only thing I bought and he was on his second mug of coffee already and wished we were back in bed, listening to that rain from the comfort of the covers.
I was hugging my pitcher.
And it’s goofy how much I wanted it, sitting there with the red pots at the end of the back home goods aisle. It’s goofy that I had to unwrap it from the brown paper as soon as we got to the car, just to look at it again.
But I smiled all morning long because of it.
At home, later, I sat it on a stack of books on the piano; and the spot of color made the whole room warmer.
I’m still smiling every time I pass it.