Only two of the Granny Smith apples remain, but I also bought some Pink Ladys.
I was counting out four Granny Smiths when I noticed him staring at me.
An ordinary man, about my age. He faced me across the apples, smiled nervously, and blurted out, "Do you live in the Chennault Beach area?"
"Sure do," I replied, suddenly uncomfortable in my orange fleece jacket. My favorite ancient outerwear for walking has no business being worn in public but I had not bothered to change between my walk and a few quick errands.
"I thought so!" He smiled again, this time more comfortably. "I see you out walking all the time."
I began twisting shut my plastic bag, and braced myself for what was surely coming next.
"Hey, is your dog okay? I haven't seen him lately. I asked my kids about it and they said they haven't seen him either. We all notice you've been walked alone..."
My hands held the bag still. "Yeah, we lost him in January."
"Oh. I'm so sorry. He seemed like such a friendly dog. We all miss seeing him around."
Our small talk quickly trailed off. I thanked him for his kindness, balanced the apples in my cart, and pushed off toward the ice cream aisle.
And while I undoubtedly appeared to be an ordinary woman reaching for a carton of salted caramel, my heart was soaring among the heavens. What an extraordinary thing it is to be noticed and known by perfect strangers, to live in their hearts and to warrant their compassion and care. And what an insane gift it is to have such a person reach out to you, in the most ordinary circumstances, to share this miracle with you.
I'm glad I thought to buy the apples.