I pull a gleaming silver basket from the small army of baskets in their neat little rows. All waiting patiently to receive their marching orders. The black wheels roll along a newly waxed floor, as I maneuver between an assortment of shoppers. Aisles beckon me with signs, canned meat, pasta, cereal, bread, enticing me with their goods. Ah, the smell of coffee captures my attention and I follow the sweet aroma. Vacuum packed bags grin from shelves and my nose twitches as I inhale the delightfully savory smells.
Wham! Two small boys run screaming and giggling into my basket as, which I can only assume is their father, gathers them up. Sorry about that Miss, he says smiling warmly. A frazzled looking woman rolls up beside him and fixes me with a cold stare, like a bitch dog marking her territory. Really Mark, can’t you control the boys, she scolds. He looks at me and shrugs sheepishly. Chuckling, I glide my basket into another slice of life. An old woman in a motorized cart rolls past, chirping happily to her daughter. " Oh, it feels so good to be out of the house," she exclaims excitedly. " Do you think we could go by the park when we’re done?" she asks. "I don’t know Mother", says the young woman. "I have a lot to do today!" The old woman’s bird like eyes go dim with disappointment. They disappear around the corner and I wonder about the woman. What stories does she have locked away in that fragile body? Did she love passionately, when she was younger? Did she have a happy marriage or was she a bored housewife? Was she satisfied or disappointed with her life?
Moving on, my basket and I weave through the many aisles floating on a flotsam of words. Providing a window into the lives of these strangers. A mother and daughter preparing for her first homecoming dance. A husband and wife planning a small get together. Teenagers worried about an exam in the morning. Little slivers of life that eddy and flow around me as I make my way to the checkout line.
A sudden craving for chocolate overtakes me and I make a beeline for the dessert aisle. Browsing the delectable chocolate sweets, I notice a basket next to mine. Hmm, definitely a bachelor by the look of it, ice cream, chips salsa, TV dinners, and a six pack of beer. Oh what stories these baskets tell! I straighten my blouse and smooth my hair. Suddenly, I wonder what does my basket say about me. Taking a quick inventory, coffee, yogurt, fruit, shampoo and conditioner, a couple bottles of wine, half a dozen chocolate treats and a trashy romance novel. Oh Sweet Jesus! I look like a drunk about to go on a chocolate binge. My basket screams unattached, looking for a husband.
"Uh, excuse me, could you tell me which aisle the laundry detergent is in?" asks the owner of the bachelor basket. A pair of eyes, as green as wild weeds and one of the sweetest of smiles greet me. "Are you new to the neighborhood?" I ask shyly. "Yep, I just transferred here from Pittsburgh", he explains. The conversation flows easily and he invites me for a cup of coffee. And I readily accept. Grinning like an idiot I make my way to the checkout line. Gathering up my groceries, I place the silver basket back into formation and pat it fondly. Until next time my friend
copyright Sherry Obsheatz