I went grocery shopping this evening. In front of me stood this old lady with a red hat (with flowers on it), a mustard-colored raincoat and a walking stick. An image straight out of a children’s book, she was. I avoid spying on people in public places but it was impossible to keep starring elsewhere today. Apparently, she did quite a heavy shopping. At one point I stood there thinking if she will last until the detergent she bought does(yes, we are allowed to be cruel to strangers, in our head).
Soon, she was putting away all the things in her bag; meticulously slow. The old lady picked up the remaining change from the coin machine, one by one. I heard every penny being picked and her pace never wanting to create a new beat.
I watched her pay- unhurried and calm.
Her wrinkles sculpted her face like shadows of twigs and branches on a forest bed under the sun.
Even her head with its silver shy strands shook a bit like she had a secret song playing in her head.
She was alone. She was cheerful. She looked pleased with herself. And I thought it must be the growing fingers of the sun making everyone in this part of the northern hemisphere giddy and gay. Spring is almost here, everyone claims.
It was then I sort of felt like a dickhead, meandering in my head most of the time. Always bending the desolate thoughts as poetic and emotional cruelty as beautiful.
There stool this old lady, with her whole life almost over; regained, satisfied and collecting her grocery with a smile. Previously I was looking at her and thinking how lonely her longings must be, how quiet her bed might be. But then I thought she probably has more memories than I have had dreams. Or maybe she has no memories, which is always a blessing.
I stood there with mixed feelings putting away my groceries in a rush. While next to me she shook her head and made cute breathing noises. The old lady putting her groceries away with a sunflower for a smile made me breathe quick.
I didn't help her.
I was in a hurry to get out of there.
Something was yearning for fresh air.....something called the guilt for being miserable and young.