I saw you at the checkout as you shoved product across flashing red lines.
You saw me, greeted me with a smile never reaching narrowed eyes—eyes that said, “I know what you think about me.”
“No, you don’t,” I wanted to say. “I don’t know what I’m thinking about you, so how could you?”
I kept my words to myself instead, returning my own imitation smile.
Barely half my age and already looking at the world through jaundiced eyes.
Who hurt you? Who told you this is all there is? Who said you can’t change?
So, maybe I do know what I think about you, but it doesn’t make it true.
Maybe you can guess what I’m thinking, but my thoughts don’t create your reality.
I handed you cash. Your eyes widened at the sight.
Does the green define you? Does the trade in images of dead men measure the scope of your life?
No, it’s only paper—a symbol of humanity’s estimation of worth. It’s not your worth, but of the products you push.
What is your life apart from this life behind the scanner? Are your eyes the same outside these whitewashed walls?
Do they brighten in the sun as its rays fly across the blue to dance on the grass?
Do they smile when you greet a lover, or cry when you’re parted from them?
Are they always jaded?
Author’s Note: This is a quick piece I wrote in response to a real-life situation. I was checking out at Walmart one day, and my checker was this pretty but sad looking girl named Denver. It’s not often I’m compelled to write something like this, but her almost soulless expression broke my heart. Writing about it was the only thing I could do. Unfortunately, I never saw her working there again. I hope her life got better.