The sky was overcast.
Rain had splattered the pavement like a million paintballers on an unlimited budget. Now, drops fell a few at a time.
“We’re early,” I told mom as we pulled into a parking spot. Early was the operative word when it came to the Bellingham Costco. Shoppers jostled like Guns n Roses fans around the closed warehouse door.
I decided not to fight the crowds. Neither was I going to enlighten them on what exactly they were jostling in line for –
- Cardboard boxes filled with cereal.
- Rows of garlic dill pickles.
- Bundles of white socks.
But, hey, maybe that’s how they rocked out. Buying bulk items at low prices.
Mom and I walked past the crazed masses and sat down on the edge of a cement planter by the side of the store.
We weren’t the only ones.
A woman sat under the branches of the maple tree on the edge of the planter. In front of her, a shopping cart awaited her next move. Its silver tarp covered contents piled high and wide.
“What are all the people here for,” she asked. I stared at the red sores scattered across her face like chicken pox. Then, I caught myself.
“Costco,” I said, my face turning red at my rude behavior, “The place opens in ten minutes.”
She smiled slightly and gazed at the cloud-darkened mountains in the distance.
“Wonder if it’s going to keep raining.”
There was stillness in her wide, pale features. A stillness that made me think of a meadow in the middle of the forest. No one else around.
It the short time we waited for Costco to open, I learned
- this woman was from the Midwest.
- She didn’t like the heat in that area of the country.
- It seemed, she didn’t mind the Washington rain .
Beneath multiple layers of clothing and behind the wieldy cart with its plastic outdoor chair strapped to the side, this woman emanated a strong sense of self.
I asked if I could interview her.
And, rightly so.
She was more than a story.
She was creature with feelings, with hopes and dreams.
Underneath the jumbled layers of unfortunate events, she was an exquisite creation of God.
A human being.