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To put distance between us I took a step back, the only space begrudged by the crowd. A voice behind me gruffed, "Come on." Its impatience echoed the contempt everyone felt; its pity held a prayer that none of us would become so afflicted.

People stopped to look, huffed indiscriminately and moved on, yet the revolving press of bodies prevented my escape.

I inched back another half-step lest anyone think I was with this old woman. As if anxious to hide, she pulled at her collar and inched her scarf further down on her forehead. She glanced at me, seeking forgiveness, but I was torn between charity and disgust.

Poor creature. Just leave, already.

Her hands, awkward and shaking, pawed through an old tattered bag, coming up with nothing but an apology and a checkbook.

Even Jesus couldn't save her from two afflictions.

"This is the express line, lady. Ten items or less, cash or credit only." The clerk voided the sale and pointed the woman toward the other queue.

Story by:

DL Shirey

18 October 2017