Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Growing old

You can’t think about life without thinking about growing old. Not everyone grows old. Some never get that far. But for the rest, it’s real.

The old woman sat peacefully in the corner of the Star Market, near a pyramid of electric blue windshield washer fluid and prepackaged bundles of fire wood.

It’s unusual to see someone seated in a Star Market. They aren’t like Whole Foods with benches and community space. Typically there is no place to sit at all.

She sprawled slightly and slumped, begging the question if she was even awake. But her hand moved and with a Bic ballpoint pen, she circled letters of an acrostic in a cheap book filled with acrostics. The florescent lights lit the store completely.

Sitting in Star must have been better than the alternative. Better to be among the straggling shoppers floating in the flat brightness of the check-out aisles, better to be close to the half-emptied ranks of cashiers closing out their last shifts, better to ring out the night’s final purchases with the night's final purchasers, better to be there than to be home alone. It's an oft-told tale. It is called growing old.