subject line: humans of walmart

 

Southern California

I was in Wal-Mart the other day, waiting in line to check out and I was just people-watching, slowly falling in love with some of them. They were trying to keep their kids in line, going back and forth between Spanish and English; he was talking on the phone and laughing, tilting his head back; she was smiling at her husband through her big old glasses, holding his wrinkled hands; they were chasing their sister down the school supply aisle in their Vans with the untied shoelaces; he was staring ahead straight-faced holding a six-pack of Coors Light; they were just living their lives. And suddenly I realized I would probably never see these humans again in my life. They had gone their whole lives without me in them and they would go the rest of their lives without knowing of my existence. I got so sad knowing that when each of us walked out of that store that night, we would most likely never cross paths again. I wanted to know them. To know what they looked like without makeup on, to taste their favorite food, to hear their story. But I guess that’s the beautiful thing about the people who are in our lives. Our existence at some point is the reciprocal of a million almosts. The day you met your husband at the barbeque you almost didn’t go to. The time you almost didn’t take that accidental wrong turn and just missed a three-car collision. The year you almost decided to accept the job that would have made you rich but miserable. The time you were almost too scared to ask that girl to dance, but you did and two years later you married her. We are made of almosts and there are a thousand different lives that exist on the beds of our fingers & on the tips of our tongues. And what a scary & sacred privilege it is to be ourselves… our blooming, becoming,precarious, almost selves.