“You sure you want to go in?” My husband didn’t turn off the engine, primed to flee from some unnamed maelstrom.
“We need veggies for soup, fruit for breakfast.” I chuckled. “Stay here, I’ll text if I need you.” A slip of danger niggled the back of my mind instead of the excitement I usually enjoyed.
A masked man handed me over-large clear gloves, his eyebrows pinched together. Weird not seeing grins or frowns, any expression to guide me in reaction.
“Thank you, sir, for your help. I appreciate you,” I said, hoped the words made up for the lack of a smile hidden behind my own camouflage.
Marched to the produce area. Pandemonium: Shoppers shrouded in disguise: bandanas, cloth covers, white coned masks. Their carts bumped, backed up, and forged a choppy flow less than six feet between. Urgent shoppers scurried around workers who restocked. Hands grasped over each other, no words spoken, an active frenzy…Get out, get out, an undercurrent of anxiety streamed.
I stopped. Searched for my heart, to still the rapid beating, for a presence greater than this panic. This isn’t me. My gloved hands on the cart’s handle, another cart bumped mine. Glanced into angry eyes. Didn’t bother searching for paper goods or honey, I rushed to the checker line. Slowed my shallow breaths, relaxed my gut, and prayed.
Plastic in the way, I entered the incorrect Pin number and the checker lowered her brows. Got to the car, let Ron load up the supplies.
“Ill be right back,” I said. Strode to the unmasked, tall Jamaican man, took off my concealment and asked to purchase a bottle of his Ginger Juice.
“Thank you mom, first purchase for the day.” His smile— genuine and beautiful— a relief.
“Oh God, So good to see you, thank you.”