Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grocery Store

Today I went grocery shopping. I filled my basket to the brim with ingredients to prepare the culinary delights that lazily came to mind as I strolled down each aisle. All the makings for a great sandwich, a taco night dinner, snacks for kids, snacks for me, another attempt at perfecting my crab and shrimp wantons, pesto for the pea pine nut pasta salad. Finally when there was no more room in my cart, I headed to the check out lane.

I piled the groceries onto the conveyer belt and made pleasant small talk with the checker. She was a kind lady. She saw some items that I did not have coupons for and pulled coupons from under her desk to let me use. I appreciated her friendly familiar demeanor. 

I was anxious to get home to eat. I was hungry. It seemed to take forever to get all my goods on the belt. I have about 20 yogurts. That means lots of back and forth bending to get them up to the checker. I make sure I put the bread and chips up last so they don't get squished. I try to put the refrigerated things near each other in hopes they will be in the same bag and make unpacking easier. I am focused on the task of my hands. Finally my cart is empty.

I went to my wallet to pull out my club card for the store and my credit card. It took me a little while to find the club card in the middle of all those pieces of plastic. I had to pull them all out to thumb through them to find it. All the while, I am making small talk with the checker. 

Out of the corner of my mind, I remember doing this same thing for the first time after Camille died-grocery shopping. Back then my every thought was of my loss. I wondered how the checker could not know my story by just looking at my face. I felt like a walking ghost, interacting with the living, but not a part of their world. 

Every aisle was a reminder of something I didn't need to buy anymore. Every face was that of someone who didn't understand that I had a whole right through my center. Every moment of conversation was tainted with the fear of someone mentioning my children and bringing the tears pouring inside to the surface. 

This morning, I remembered all of that and thought, "Wow, I haven't once thought while this checker is chatting with me about how she doesn't know what has happened. I haven't once marveled that life seems so normal to her."

Maybe life is getting a little more "normal" for me.