April showers bring puddles, rain stained windows, and squinting eyes. On this particular stormy afternoon, I had to pick up a half pound of turkey and cheese on the way home from work. Being a dreary, rainy day, I wanted the trip to be short and quick so I could “take out my eyes”, get comfortable and relax, since my contact lenses were drying and my feet were aching.
Wanting a short trip, I decided to go to Best Yet, rather than Stop and Shop, since it was right around the corner, had less lights and I could park right up to the door. But, for some reason, it seemed the whole town was there – ironic for a stormy day. Traffic getting into the lot was already thinning my patience. Cars were exiting in the entrance way, and no one was giving up their spot. Being in a lazy mood, I wanted to get the parking spot near the doorway, so I passed up the ones farthest away, only to find no closer ones were vacant. Leaving the parking lot to re-enter it, I must have circled about two times, when finally, I gave in and took the spot furthest away, giving me a more extensive walk in the rain with aching feet, in shoes that had to come off and contacts that needed to come out.
Blood pressure increased as I approached the mob at the deli counter. The number being served read 52, and I had 64. Anxious in crowds, I tried to find a standing spot away from the commotion, which seemed problematic; I was constantly repositioning and in the way of others. A 3-year-old boy behind me began to throw a tantrum, hiding in the bread shelf from his mother. Frustrated, and with smaller patience than I presently harbored, which was hard to imagine, the mother angrily shouted his name, attempting to grab him, but the bread loaves were his sanctuary, amidst his piercing screeches. One deli clerk, probably annoyed himself, offered a piece of bologna from behind the counter to assuage his cries. Thankfully, it worked. We were all relieved.
As I repositioned once more, I ended up next to a 4-year-old little girl and her mother who were eating a piece of Italian bread. The little girl, who had been incessantly coughing, innocently asked her mother for water, which wasn’t available. Ten minutes went by, the girl was not getting relief, and her coughs were becoming more frantic. Yet the whole time, not one person in the crowd even offered to fetch a bottle. The mother asked a worker for water, but while waiting, went to locate one herself, for the girl’s coughs sounded painful. A pang of guilt shot through me – there were two numbers before me - why didn’t I just leave to get her water? Shortly, both mother and daughter returned, water bottle present, and the girl found relief.
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