Customer service was not a priority for the overweight, dreadlocked woman behind the counter.
I caught sight of a tattoo on her wrist. ‘Mary,’ was it? I glanced at her nametag: ‘Dominique Q.’ I immediately imagined a tragic backstory that was obviously the reason for her apathy bordering on disdain. A sister, a mother–maybe even a lover!–ripped from her all too soon by a demon called Cancer, Car Accident or Gang Violence. My heart swelled with empathy.
I smiled sadly, sincerely, as she handed me my bus ticket, but she didn’t meet my eyes. It’s OK, I told her telepathically. I understand. I looked at the tattoo one last time. I now realized it was not ‘Mary’ this woman desired so fervently that she would emblazon it on her wrist. It was ‘Money.’ My heart deflated.
She looked at me with dead eyes and an expression that clearly said, ‘Move along now.’ I dragged my bag away, feeling a little sting when she bellowed the word, “Next.”