That one certain moment

I pushed my buggy around Target, trying to remember what I’d come to buy.  I’m an inveterate list-maker but yesterday had gotten away from me.  The hours wasted in court, the afternoon of desperately chasing the bottom of my to-do list; I’d been unable to sort out my Target-needs in my brain.

I made it around three aisles without finding anything  other than a belt.  In the back of my mind, I had a vague notion that I’d decided to finally succumb to belt-wearing.  I loathe belts but I have to face the fact of their necessity to finish certain outfits.  I stared at the piece of fabric with its brass-colored buckles, trying to resign myself to beltedness, and suddenly realized that I could hear a conversation two aisles down.

I pushed a little closer.  I’m a shameless eavesdropper, a collector of poem titles and random dialogue that might some day make it out of my mental notebook onto the computer screen.  Look at this, honey, said the woman in soft tones.  Honey looked, presumably, though I couldn’t see the couple.  We don’t need them,  sweetheart, a low voice pronounced.  I heard a light thump; an object put back on the shelf.  Honey and his sweetheart moved to another aisle.

I followed, in part because I was intrigued.  I saw a rack of sale yoga pants and browsed for my size.  I heard a gentle peal of laughter and found myself smiling.  I realized that I do not in fact need any more leggings and that my voyeuristic adventure had gotten the better of me about the time Honey said, Let’s go look for  a present for your sister, and the pair left Intimates for the next department.

I cleared the dividing wall just as Sweetheart lifted a package of disposable diapers from the shelf and said, in a voice meant for Honey’s ears alone, I want a baby.

I froze.  The young woman saw me then, and an indolent smile broke over her features.  Honey stood beside her, square-shouldered and solid.  His smile mirrored hers as he raised one hand and placed it gently on her arm.

She held my eyes until I moved beyond them, pushing my cart with its lone little belt through the store, trying to recall what I needed, what I had come to buy.

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