She was doing her job like she always did. She smiled and talked to the customers and I noticed that each customer left her cashier with their products packed into bags and with a smile. Customer after customer, old and young, male or female – always the same result. I reassessed the contents of my cart again and realizing that my pulse had returned to its normal rate I began to proceed to her checkout lane. Only one other person was in line and they were about finished having just swiped their card. I placed my purchase on the belt and removed my wallet from my front pocket.
I walked up to the customer stand and she looked at me with her big brown eyes and said “Hi, did you find everything you were looking for?” And looked at me waiting for my answer. “Hi, yes I did – thanks for asking.” She began scanning my items and I watched her not the register display. She had her pulled back into a pony tail which displayed her long neck and earrings. She looked beautiful unlike any other time I had seen her. Was it her or was it me? A lady with a noisy kid pulled into her checkout lane with a full cart of items and sugar. I was distracted for a moment and when I looked back over to Tessa she was looking at me apparently waiting for my reply. I looked quickly at the register display that showed my total of $19.40 and fumbled in my wallet for a $20. “Sorry,” I said, “just went and visited another world for a moment.” She smiled and said, “Hopefully it was a far nicer place than right here.” I gave her the cash and said “no, it wasn’t”. She looked quickly over at me and our eyeballs connected for a couple seconds then she smiled, gave me my change, and before she could say it to me I said to her “I hope you have a nice day”. She tilted her head to the side very slightly, smiled, and said “Thanks, you too.” I picked up my two bags of items, nodded, and walked out quickly but not in a scared way. I began my conscious breathing – in through the nose out through the mouth – and was outside at the parking lot and then felt all my muscles, ligaments, tendons, veins, – well you get the picture – relax. I stood there a moment then realized I didn’t remember where I parked. Heck, for a brief moment I could not remember what my car looked like.
Once in my car I sat for a moment trying to slow down my thoughts and mind. My mind replayed the transaction over and over. I took a deep breath, held it for about ten seconds and slowly exhaled. “I’m okay” I said aloud to myself and turned the key. As I pulled out of the grocery store parking lot a single thought entered my mind in reply, “no your not”.