Across the Checkout Line

Lake Manyara

The other day I was standing at the checkout lane of Whole Foods. Instead of paying attention to my groceries being scanned I was rapt in the discussion going on in checkout line across from me. There was a gregarious woman chatting along happily. I caught a sliver of the exchange and grasped she was discussing motorcycles unfavorably. The woman standing in line behind her briefly chimed into the conversation. This was followed by a question. All I heard was “sister” and then the first woman respond with, “I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry.” To which this woman mumbled something and looked down.

The woman in front of her shortly returned to her banter.

I kept looking across, hoping to give some sort of magical look to convey that she was not alone. But she was. And she never looked up again. Some invisible chasm of grief had swallowed her whole. Occasionally she’d glance over and down to her children, or back towards her groceries but her face didn’t change.

My groceries piled neat in their bags, I paid and walked out to the parking lot. I loaded my car and started to drive home. And then I started to cry. The face of the woman standing across from me in the checkout line haunted me. I understood keenly, especially that morning, how easy it is for a anger to accidently bump against these undetectable bruises left by raw grief. How our words hold these tiny shards that sometimes scrape against someone.

Seeing her sadness unleashed the tears we both held back.

Weekly Photo Project: Week 36

wpp-week-36It’s been busy for awhile around here. And the first few weeks of school have been no exception. But for the first time in a couple weeks we were not on the road to Bastrop on a Thursday afternoon and I was not away there and there was time to play blocks and have a cleaning party to “Shake It Off” (where she danced through the rooms) and try out daddy’s old guitar and eat dinner together and end the night with lots of reading. I even got a single photo out of it.

PS I’m in love with the headband she’s been rocking for the past two days. She places it on her head just so, and it’s such a lovely chaotic expression of her unique style.

Leila Love

Aug 16 Leila Love

“I wish I was a jellyfish wasp so I could sting people.”

Sharing why she likes Sid the Science Kid, “Yeah, cause I learn about things I never learned about.”

After Mommy requested she help with Seven, “Well, she’s just kind of a little bit scared of me.”

Discussing her school lunches, “My ideas for nutrition were cheese stick, yogurt, and fruit. My other ideas were fruit chews and pretzels.”

Thoughts after a trip to TCBY, “Not a lot of people were there…cause they had ice cream after lunch.”

…And she called the toppings “decorations”

“Mommy do you remember when Wrigley had Seven in her mouth?…Seven acted like she was older than Wrigley. Like past 11.” (Side note: No pups were harmed, but our newest dog struggled with a little bit of jealously/need to exert her nonexistent dominance.)

“Mommy, sometimes can I be on the TV?…Maybe when I’m 6 I could do gymnastics on the TV?”

Thoughts on the Kusama exhibit, “It reminds me of a restaurant with no chairs or tables that’s closed.”

“Is there any way there’s an onion wrapper on this box?” (There was a piece of onion skin on a box.)

After reading What Do You Do With A Problem? Mommy: “Have you ever had a problem?” Leila: “I hadn’t had a problem this big.”

An inquiry about Seven, “Mom, can I leash her to the car?”

Forming her little fingers into a triangle and discussing the cookie situation for a prospective party, “I’m figuring out what size it should be.”

Playing eye spy, “It’s something on my body that’s small and colorful.” (It was her fingernails.)