People Watching In Grocery Stores

I ran out the other night to Food Lion to grab some bananas and milk for breakfast the next morning.  In front of me in the checkout line was a young couple with a baby. The baby was barely visible inside the super sized VERY PINK carrier riding at the front of the cart. Pink fabric, pink ribbons, pink bows, pink blankey, pink bottle... it was tempting to lean forward and ask, "So, is it a little boy or girl?"

But the baby wasn't what interested me. It was the parents. So very young. The girl was slightly pudgy in a pleasing way with a cute and good-natured face. She also had an intelligent look about her and if I had to guess I'd say she did pretty well in school. And school couldn't be far behind. I'd be surprised if she were 20.

The husband looked even younger--one of those men who will still look 18 when he's 40. Thin, buzzed blond hair, faded t-shirt, gangly hands and arms that he looked like he didn't quite know what to do with. A slightly surprised look about him, but not sullen looking like so many young kids around here. He smiled shyly but easily as his wife talked with the cashier.  He was also obviously enamoured of his wife, like he couldn't quite believe his good fortune that she was with him and that was actually their baby.

They were buying some cleaning staples, milk, and bags and bags of Roman noodles. There must have been at least 15 different colored bags of noodles the cashier swiped through.

The cashier wished them a good night and they smiled and wished the same back to her, then slowly pushed the cart out of the store, the wife reviewing the checkout list as they went.

I watched them leave. I had a flash of what I imagined their life to look like--sparse, run-down apartment that they're very pleased with because it is THEIRS.  Hand-me down furniture. Wedding gifts or presents or even cards still proudly displayed. A happy life with each other. Excited about their new family, excited to be "grown-ups" with an apartment and jobs and a baby. Still find it fun to wake up next to each other "just like married people."

Will the happiness last or will eating Roman noodles and struggling for money quickly lose its "us versus the world" appeal? I hope it lasts, but the odds are against them. They're just so young. I wanted to wrap them up and protect them--keep their happiness safe.

I'm not going anywhere with this. The couple and their noodles and their smiles have stayed with me, so I thought I'd share. That's all.