“Hey, your bag is open. Things inside might spill out,” I heard a faint, moving whisper in my ear.
I turned around and looked him straight in the eye, and oh yes, my insides spilled out. Right in the middle of the grocery store, on a cold afternoon when I had run out of milk and eggs. His gaze punched me in my stomach, so hard, it threatened to take my life force away. His eyes moved all around, looking at me, trying to understand the mixed and frozen expression I had plastered on my face. My face. It was like a white board, waiting for him to carve out with permanent markers, the lines of my eyes, lips, nose and touch my face. Did this mean I had fallen in love with someone at the first sight? The only thing I knew was that right in that moment I had turned hopelessly gullible. That I wanted him to strip my flesh, hold me tight, and gaze into my abyss.
“Thank you.” I replied with the best cool face I could muster.
I watched him from behind the dairy counter, moving ever so slightly between different aisles, picking up things, smelling them, putting them down, and holding them against the light. He moved like a bird, legs in different places at once, his face catching the few rays of sunlight seeping in through the exhaust window, his eyes searching frantically for the one thing he stepped to buy in the store. I noticed a slight frown building up on his forehead when he saw that the prices of prime ribs had soared. He liked his meat. He moved his trolley towards the billing counter, drumming his long fingers on the trolleys’ handle. He looked down at his phone, and he was bored. He kept it back in his pocket. Rubbed his own shoulders. Then he turned. He looked straight at me again. We locked eyes and neither could move. His face was breaking into a smile, and mine had the same white board expression. I didn’t notice anything apart from the eyes. Then, as if being pulled by a million invisible silken threads, I walked towards the billing counter.
With my trolley in front of me, I think I ran over his foot. Saw a hint of a grimace flit across his face, and as suddenly as his pain came in, he broke into a cracked smile, showing all his teeth. This made me blush, smile, look horrified at his foot, everything together. Oh god, I was such a mess. I turned away and passed my things over to be billed, cutting across as the rude line-cutting woman that I was. He let me. After I was done, he started getting his products billed. He looked over his shoulder to check if I was still in the store. I was waiting. Smiles exchanged.
We walked out the store together. Started loading my things into the boot of my car while he stood behind me, waiting for me. Then he crossed over the other side, put his hand on the empty trolley I parked beside the car.
“Coffee, my dear wife? You look like you need one.”
There goes that smile again.