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"A Random Conversation", by Susana Laborde-Blaj

I never thought I would get to have a glimpse into a person’s soul when I entered Costco. I have been resisting going there, since I prefer to buy in small local stores, but I was looking for a big bag of raw cacao powder.

After looking in every aisle, at every item, and not finding it, I asked the person in Customer Service, who was extremely friendly and informed me that they didn’t have it anymore. My soul fell down to my feet.

We had been, and are, dealing with seeing our lovely cat, who is old and sick, deteriorate, and we are really trying to have the clarity to decide when to put her down and send her soul to a different realm. This is to explain that I really felt the need to boost my morale by consuming the magic substance that sometimes can give me comfort: chocolate!

Yes, I confess. Even knowing for sure that it couldn’t give me unconditional joy, or stop my cat from dying, I felt that having a Big Bag of Cacao would give me a sense that things were alright, at least for a moment.

William, another friendly employee, came by when I was at the cashier, trying to look for more information. He tried to help me, so we began to talk about cacao (I prefer the bitter taste of chocolate, so with no sugar, just the raw cacao powder, to be added to a bit of hot oat milk, very hot water, turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper). “It lifts my spirits”, I said, and since he was being so kind, I asked him “What does lift your spirits?”

He took a moment and said “Well, I don’t drink alcohol, I can’t drink coffee or have chocolate because I would have a migraine and die… I drink some juices…”

His phrases kept trailing, and he didn’t seem content with his answers. He stayed quiet for a while, and when I was ready to leave, he suddenly blurted out “What lifts my spirits up is my dog! Especially when I go back home and take him out for a walk”

This felt like a fast-speed-sharp-arrow deep into my heart, touching the fibers that felt so tender with sadness for my own cat. At the same time it touched the fibers that felt tender with empathy, compassion, and the joy of a glimpse into an open heart and a tender human’s soul. Who would have guessed that this would happen in Costco?

Shakti, Lake Oswego, Oregon. March 2014

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