Try to remember


No longer needing to stand on his tiptoes, Philip watched our groceries being bagged.

“Wow, he’s getting so tall,” marveled the cashier as she scanned the items.

“He sure is,” I agreed.

“I remember when you were pregnant with him,” the smiling cashier added.

Her remark brought back a memory of my own: 

I was either seven or eight months pregnant. I'm not certain, but I do remember it was a warm day and my belly was quite prominent. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work. I think I only needed a few things, so I grabbed a basket instead of a cart. It took me a little longer than expected since I wasn’t as familiar with the layout of this store located on Cleveland’s west side.

By the time I waddled my way through the aisles and queued for the register, I wasn’t feeling well. This store didn’t offer the do-it-yourself checkout, so my only options were to wait or abandon my basket of groceries.

The longer I stood, the more light-headed I felt. I was regretting my decision not to use a cart since I had nothing to lean against as the store began to spin. I waited, willing myself to remain upright. When it was finally my turn, I answered the cashier’s greeting with, “I don't feel very good.”

I was immediately ushered to that spot where the empty bags are filled with your purchases. As I sat there, the bagger, a lumbering fellow with brown hair (or was it blonde?), stood by with a look on his face that said, “I don’t know what to do.” The store security guard came over to check on me. His uniform inspired more confidence.

He offered me water, but sitting down seemed to settle my stomach and head. The bagger worked around me. I can't recall if I stayed seated to pay or if I was able to stand up at this point.

“Is there anyone we should call?” the officer (or was it the bagger?) asked as he escorted me to my car. 

“No, I’ll be fine,” I assured him, grateful that this wasn't my regular store and hopeful that I wouldn't be remembered as "that pregnant woman who almost fainted."

I nodded and smiled at the cashier who said she remembered me when I was pregnant. I swiped my credit card, grabbed my receipt, and Philip and I were on our way.

A nod and smile seemed the most polite response even though I knew the cashier was mistaken. Even though my own memories were fuzzy, I was absolutely positive I didn’t start shopping at this store until we moved here when Philip was two-years-old. But I nodded and smiled because the sentiment behind the false memory was completely honest.



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