It was almost dark; the dogs had no food. I’ll just run in and out, I thought.
The express line was stalled, a mama had gone back to get something she’d forgotten, the teenage daughter, looking up from her phone told me I should try another lane.
I heard what I thought was thank you; then realized she was talking to someone else, somewhere else, the person with whom her earphone microphone thingy was connected. So, she continued her conversation, not knowing I really liked her teapot.
I wondered if she’d use it or just set it out somewhere, pretty like my creamy white plates.
My white bowls stacked up together next to antique glass and hydrangea.
Pretty little simple things I love.
My turn now, the cashier glances past me towards the store entrance, mumbles “What are they doing out there?”
Looks back towards her co-worker, the one in stalled line, teenager still staring towards device, and says something. I have no idea whatsoever what!
I’m nonexistent, I think… my cart, my dog food. I’m an object in a line.
She complains, the dog food won’t scan, has to type it in. I pay, lift the heavy bag back into my cart and finally she looks at me to say “Thank you, Miss.”
Now I pause and I’m all out of sorts as to why she called me “Miss”, this girl, her age something “teen”, I’m sure.
I just stood there thinking “Miss?”
Then, I sense her there. This petite little lady, her smile as big as I don’t know what.
She shuffled up beside me, paused with me, her hand touching my arm, patting lightly.
Patting my arm and smiling.
Smiling, continuously smiling.
The kind of smile that reminded of a see-saw on a sunny day, the weight and joy causing her face to tilt happily to one side and then back to other.
She must’ve been 80 or older, looked like she weighed not much more. Her feet a solid foundation in rubbery thick shoes as her little body buoyed along walking beside me.
All put together she was, stockings of thick cotton-colored white, a proper church going skirt, and a delicate golden-colored silk blouse under pearl button cardigan.
“You got you a dog?” She asked, looking into my cart.
I looked towards her wide smile and smiled back saying, “I have two, they’re really my children’s; but, mine now I guess.”
“Tell me ’bout ’em”, she said, “they married?” So, I told her about my daughter, a teacher, getting married in April. Her eyes lit up, “Ohhh, that’s sooo good!” she said. She leaned towards me, listening for more, so I added, “My son’s 18 and in his first year of college.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed, animated and sincere.
“That is just so wonderful, so good…that’s a blessing.”
“It is.” I smiled and said.
We stood together a minute more, then walking away with her little shuffling skipping step, she smiled again, looking back, neither of us could remember where we parked.
“Me either”, I said “happens all the time” and again she smiled as she turned, both of us remembering where we came from.
And driving home I wished I’d hugged her, wished I’d asked if she had a dog.
Still wishing now.