I don’t know when he approached my counter; I must have had my eyes elsewhere. The mall is quite big, you see, and we were warned to look around us. For that pick pocket that feels today is his lucky day. Or that little child that moves away from his minder, unobtrusively, and tries to pick a ‘sweet’ or chocolate bar when we were not looking. Or both could be happening at the same time- my brother, is that not what our two eyes are for? To look at different directions at the same time. Okay, it is impossible, but I used to convince myself many, many years ago, that it was possible. I was 5 or 6 then you see.
So I don’t know when he approached my counter. But his still small, weak voice drew me from my thoughts. ‘Can I pay for these items’, he said, rather weakly. I looked up; he could not be more than 70, I said to myself. His starched brown suit glistered under the bright mall lights. He was not as tall as myself, I noticed. Perhaps he was taller back then when he was younger, before the slight bend he had on his back developed. His hands, hairy and small, grabbed the groceries, which he now placed on my counter. He smiled at me. It was then I noticed the tears in his eyes, slowly climbing down his pale face. It appeared that he had been crying- at least it seemed to me. Continue reading