Connection in a Sea of Loneliness - Amy Lindroth
16" x 24" x 1"
Just for a Second
by Elizabeth Hanselman
It was obvious. This customer was having a rough time. She was an older woman whose clothes were shabby. She slowly dug her groceries out of the cart. It seemed as if she was lifting the weight of the world with each item.
The youthful cashier, attired in her crisp work uniform, waited. At last, the troubled woman completed her task. Although Pat was an energetic college sophomore who usually had little patience, she knew that rushing this customer would only serve to trouble this older lady even more.
Scanning each item, Pat wondered if there was some way, she could brighten this woman’s day. There was no time for courteous conversation. Asking, “How are you?”, seemed so wrong.
Grocery items nestled efficiently in the faded re-usable grocery bag meant it was time for payment. As the customer took off her gloves to better unzip her wallet, Pat noticed a striking ring. It was decades old with an old-fashioned setting highlighting a bright yellow topaz.
“That’s my birthstone.”, Pat thought as the woman pulled out a wad of bills, sorting through them to come up with the correct amount.
“That’s a beautiful ring.”, Pat stated, “Topaz is my birthstone. Is it yours, too?”
“Why yes!”, the woman answered lifting her gaze to meet the young cashier.
For a brief instant their eyes met. Both smiled at each other as the previous heaviness evaporated for one meaningful moment.