I remember a day this past winter when the new reports said that a snowstorm was on its way and that we should be prepared to stay at home for two or three days. I generally take the, “it’ll be ok” approach to life. Never mind that my pantry was bare and the refrigerator almost empty; payday was only three days away. I was sitting cozy in my recliner, and I received a text from my husband, “Hey babe”. Now, I’m no fool, I know when I’m about to be handled carefully. “News reports say it is going to snow at 1, and that we should be ready to stay in the house for two or three days”. I can already tell where this is going, we needed food. Not too many texts later, I’m frantically printing coupons, building a grocery list in my head, and throwing on my shoes so I can head out the door the second my husband got home to care for our children.
The entire drive to the store, I’m formulating my game plan. I only have an hour and half to get home so that my husband can get back for something important at work. I’m totally not prepared for this trip, and I know I am about to go spend way more money than I have in the account to spend. If I don’t come back with a substantial amount of food, my poor husband is going to be worried. He, on the hand, is not an “it will be ok” kind of a guy, more like “there is little chance that it will be ok” type.
I headed in to the store wrapping my scarf tighter around my neck to brace for the cold wind, after all, we are expecting snow any minute. One quick stop by the coupon printer, I snatch a sales ad that I’m fairly confident I won’t read, and I head to the produce section. For a second, I don’t even know what I am here to get, so I just start grabbing everything I usually buy. Who cares if what I just picked is one of the five things that is left in the refrigerator. I have to buy food, and lots of it, remember the snow?
As I am walking around the corner to the meat section of the store, I ran into a friend that I haven’t seen in a while. She is there preparing for the storm as well. The first words out of her mouth are, “I feel so bad that we haven’t hung out in a while. I just don’t want my negativity to bring you guys down. You guys are always so good and I just don’t want to be horrible around you”. I’m completely caught off guard here and think to myself, “Wow, we are about to have this conversation in front of a wall of bologna at Food Lion”. In that moment, something in the back of my mind says, I have to slow down and be in the here and now. I know I’m about to have a heart to heart with a woman that is hurting, and I have to just forget about my time restraints, empty pantry, and imminent snow.
For the next twenty minutes, I stand there with a friend, and just listen. People keep passing by trying to get their bologna, and I don’t even see them. It is just me and my friend, talking about the important things in life. The whole time we are talking, I can see and hear how hurt she is with the things going on in her life. This is all that really matters in this moment. As time gets on, she realizes she has to hurry and go. After thanking me for just standing there and listening, we hug and say our goodbyes and wish each other’s families well. I wasn’t sure when I’d see her again.
I begin walking again and put on my game face, because I’m twenty minutes down, and only five things in my shopping cart. As quickly as I can, I clear the shelves of Food Lion, picking up more than my cart can hold. I make it to the register with a heaping buggy, and a stack of coupons. As I stand there and wait on the cashier, I think to myself about my friend, and how I’m glad I saw her. I grab the receipt and head out the door.
Upon arriving at home, I rushed as quickly as possible to unload the food so that my husband could return to work. I tell him about my meeting with our friend, and I can see his heart is sad for her. We both knew that things had to change. He kissed me goodbye and ran out the door to get back to work. I looked at the clock, it was 2:00 and there was no sign of snow.