So, I run into the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner.
It is after 5pm.
The cashier has probably been standing for at least 6 hours.
She manages a smile.
“How are you tonight? Did you have a good day? Do you get off soon?”
I have a feeling she would rather I didn’t ask any more questions.
She is tired.
She is a senior citizen.
I wonder what her story is.
I need gas.
I stop by the service station, fill up and decide to buy a lottery ticket.
I recognize the guy behind the counter.
“Hey, good to see you. How have you been? I haven’t seen you in awhile.”
He tells me he has been ill, and needs dialysis twice a week.
I wonder how he can work.
What is his story?
I am thirsty and stop for a beer.
The regulars are there.
They talk about sports and the weather and their vacations.
I wonder if they really know one another.
I arrive home.
My husband doesn’t feel well.
I ask him how he is, and if there is anything he would like.
He says he is ok, and doesn’t need anything.
I don’t believe him, but I respect his privacy.
I wonder if we really know one another.
I look at myself.
What is my story?
I keep it to myself, for the most part.
I have a difficult time, sometimes, sharing the darker side of my life.
And then I reflect, on the cashier, the guy behind the counter, the regulars at the pub, and my husband.
And realize we all wear our masks, do what we have to, to survive, to ease the pain, and for the most part, keep our real stories to ourselves.