As I drive to the corner CVS for some household necessities, the news of the day swarms thru my head – Obama, McCain, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, the aftermath of Ike... STOP!
My ears are ringing as I pull into the parking lot. I find a spot and turn the noise off. I open the door and step out. The heat surrounds me as I try to clear the muddle that has penetrated my mind. I enter the store. The cool air feels good.
I gather up batteries and a few other needs. Then I take my place in line. Wall Street, Alaska and Iraq are all still swimming in my thoughts.
“That will be $5.76,” I hear the cashier tell the boy in front of me.
Since when is a gallon of milk five dollars and change?
She says it again just to reaffirm, “That's $5.76...”
I notice the dark skinned boy in front me. He's maybe 5'1”, probably 11 or 12. He reaches his right hand deep down in his pant pocket searching for change as his left hand drops a wad of coins on the counter. The cashier seems a bit annoyed. I hear the sighs behind me and I admit, I'm ready to sigh too.
As I watch the boy struggle, I think of my two, nestled in the comforts of home waiting my return. It was a sobering moment.
The cashier counts the change and the boy continues to dig. I want to stop them both and tell him I'll pay the bill, but he finally musters up the right amount of money and the cashier bags his milk. I'm relieved as he walks out.
My turn comes. I swipe my card, gather my goods and head out. So simple.
I exit the store. The intense heat douses the coolness of the air conditioned store.
As I wipe the immediate sweat forming on my forehead, I see the boy across the parking lot. He is trying to get on his Razor, an electric scooter you stand on and steer with handlebars. He doesn't see me.
His left hand struggles with the plastic bag holding the gallon of milk and trying to hold on to the left side of the handlebar and his right hand struggles to straighten both sides of the handlebar. Many drops of sweat have already beaded on his forehead, and he tries to wipe the drips with his right hand, losing control again of the handlebars. I can't help but watch. I want to know he'll be okay.
Finally he gets himself situated and starts the scooter. He stops at the corner and looks both ways. The cars are whizzing by and he follows. He makes it safe to the other side.
Relieved, I walk back to my van. Thoughts of the boy and my children play back in mind. I unlock the door and hop in. I cross my arms over the steering wheel and bow my head. I pray for the boy and his family. Then I thank the Lord for mine.
I turn the key. The cool air from the vents hit my face and the news of the day continues on the radio. I turn the volume off and open the window.
How easy it is to get lost in the game of life.
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