It was a day when I realized I was going to have to bite the bullet and go across town. Grocery shopping is something I like to do close to home but on this side of the river (traffic on the bridge!) there are no good value stores.
I had been to this store once before but I'll try not to make that an excuse. The first aisle was like a tunnel funneling me right into the produce section. I slowly pushed my cart through looking at the prices which made me ashamed I had spent years spending so much.
Near the tomatoes, I stopped my cart, grabbed a produce bag and started walking up the aisle to see what looked best when I saw a man, perhaps in his 60's with remaining touches of the hippie generation, heading toward my unmanned cart. Whoa! He's going to collide - can't he see? And WHAM my cart he did - very hard and very deliberately. At this point I didn't know who had left the cart there :) and continued studiously with my tomato shopping. I did notice a woman following him, knowing she probably had caught the guilty party if he had not.
Giving them time to leave the area, continuing slowly, now with my cart, I shopped. In the many aisles butting up against the produce section I kept seeing this man and woman racing up and down. My first chapter in my imagined story was that she must be his daughter, perhaps 20-22 years of age or so, on college break, visiting her very intense father for a few days.
Then they whizzed by me again in the produce section - I forced myself to look at her and she acknowledged me but not ready to engage, I quickly averted my attention elsewhere.
So I finished in the produce and started the aisle shopping. Wow! I couldn't figure out how many times they needed to visit the same aisles. The young woman seemed very good natured and followed him with a smile. As they passed me again, I deliberately gave her a smile. She stopped and said, "I really like your hair - the way it goes . . ." as she made a softly curving motion with her arm. They continued.
The imagination continued the story: Not only was she beautiful outside but inside as well. Me, still feeling sensitive about the incident, saw how very gracious she was - to reinstate me in a very deliberate way and let me know she had seen the whole thing. It was a very sweet revelation.
So the saga continued - a couple smiles from a distance - but we never passed close again. My last glimpse of them was in the meat section.
Generally speaking, I don't do a lot of antagonizing in the grocery so can't say I'm not used to kindness, but in this embarrassing situation, this woman made a real pleasant trip of it. It was one of those moments when I was glad I'd made a connection. I pray God bless her and her father (he's her father from my story anyway) with the best of times together.