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Grace and Beauty in a Frazzled World of Frazzled People
The young mother driving the van-like vehicular contraption stops so abruptly in the supermarket parking space that the whole machine bounces once, testing its suspension system against a forgotten warranty.
She pushes the door open with one foot while disentangling herself from a cranky seat belt. Her otherwise lovely face is pinched in concentration as she hoists a shoulder bag or two, slings them over her back and circles to the passenger side to dig for a small child who is buckled and cocooned in a plastic and synthetic cloth bucket.
The squirming child frowns in the sunlight and flails about while its mom steadies herself under equal parts of bulging baggage and contorted tot.
At some point, she has everything balanced and in place, and for a moment her world is steady and stable, what with kid planted and detritus organized. Then, she points her squinched nose toward the supermarket and begins steering herself in the direction of automatic doorway safety.
As the young mother disappears with child and burdens into fluorescent air-conditioned sanctuary, she just as abruptly is replaced by an enormous woman emerging from the other automatic entrance, slowly pushing forward a metal wheeled cart packed with all the victuals and cleansers and aids she will need to accompany her through the week. The cart serves as a walker, and it is obvious that she feels pain from her swollen ankles, pain she is accustomed to, pain that is always fresh and relentless.
Her progress across the parking lot is steady, and it is clear that she is as organized as the mother, carefully opening the car trunk and methodically arranging each bag for stability in preparation for the drive home.
Two lives passing in the light.
In just a few years, will the young mother be alone and overweight in an asphalt parking lot? Just a few years earlier, was the large woman a young mother, packing and unpacking her child, keeping it safe and nurtured till distant fly-away time?
The moment passes. The Writer who is writing all this down meanders on to the next parking lot vision, hoping against hope that each sighting will induce some insight, some wisdom, some empathy, for all the sole survivors in all the village parking lots of all the towns in all the world
© Jim Reed 2014 A.D.