We found ourselves standing next to each other. I was studying the prices of canned tuna. She was scanning the selection of instant-pudding mixes opposite. It was mid-afternoon, the aisle was otherwise empty. Try as she might, she could bend only so low to examine the items on the lower shelves, fearing, she admitted quietly, that her knees might fail to raise her. These things come with age, she conceded. We smiled it away. I turned to assist.
She was looking for butterscotch—that was the flavor she liked. If they didn’t have butterscotch here, Target would have it. They always stocked butterscotch at Target. The prices were better at Target too, she said. Had I seen the price of cream cheese here? Over two dollars! I commiserated. Her daughter had found a recipe with her weight-watchers group in which canned pumpkin was added to the butterscotch mix—it was really quite good that way, and less fattening. That sounded good to me too. It would be surprising if they didn’t carry butterscotch here, we agreed, as surely butterscotch was still one of the more popular flavors. Perhaps they had sold out. There were many newer flavors. We thought we found a few boxes of butterscotch towards the back of the bottom shelf, next to the coconut crème, but they were only surplus of the vanilla. She would get butterscotch at Target. She thanked me, her eyes gleaming briefly, and we wished each other a good day. I continued along my way. She continued along hers.
Perhaps a half dozen times during our search for the butterscotch, she had reached out to touch my arm, letting her cold, delicate fingers, thinly gloved in fine wrinkles, linger on the warmth of my skin for an extended moment, for as long as politely possible. I hadn’t pulled away.
She would find what she wanted later at Target. Here, she had found something of what she needed. I hadn’t minded.
Copyright 2014, Quent Cordair. All rights reserved.