in the supermarket

I saw you in the supermarket today, and wondered where the time had gone.

You were rooting through the produce, choosing only those tomatoes that adhered to your strict yet ever-elusive standard of perfection.  There were crow’s feet around your eyes and creases between your brows that were new to me, and I wondered how you could have frowned so much in only two years to produce such deeply etched lines.

When you turned to place your carefully-chosen acquisitions into your cart, I noticed a stoop in your shoulders that hadn’t been there in the days that I hung on your arm in the park. I’m glad there’s a sag in your always-so-square frame.  You seem almost human, now.

You moved on to the fruits, and the hands that inspected the soft, succulent peaches were calloused and rough, coarse against the velvet of their skin.  I wondered if you could even feel the poor thing with claws like that.  Your hands had always been a little hard, a little grasping, but now I can’t even glance at them without an involuntary cringe of sympathy for what you touch so nervelessly.

Glancing down at my basket of half-inspected onions and pears, at the hands still warm and soft despite hard work and cold days, I let my shoulders relax into an easy grace and quietly thank God for my laugh lines.


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