An Encounter

an encounter

(A Flash Fiction)

By Lorna Ye

They entered the aisle of pasta from different sides. He recognized her – it had been almost a year since she left the company where he was her manager. A brief greeting led to a little bit more small talk, while their two shopping carts in-between ensured a 6-feet distance.

“What a pain to stay indoors all day and night! I’m not an indoor person. But the virus now…Oh my goodness! I don’t know how long I can put up with my wife and my mother-in-law who nag about everything, every day,” words filtered through his blue mask, but still registered a vigorous agitation.

She nodded occasionally, a soft “uh huh” almost muffled in her self-made gray mask.

“The whole distance learning thing is driving me crazy. My two kids don’t know how to study at all. I don’t think the school will reopen any time soon, so I will have to suffer. How long? Maybe forever.” He sighed loudly, distress filled his eyes.

He continued his rant and this time it was about the company’s policy and new management during the pandemic.

When he finally noticed her lack of response, he checked her face, actually only her eyes, but didn’t detect any similar type of disquiet or any sympathy. After an awkward silence, he added a couple of jars of pasta sauce into his cart and said bye. Each of them continued their trip to the other side of the aisle.

He grumbled inside his head, I guess everything works out fine for her. Life is unfair and I have to suffer.

She screamed inside her mind, none of those is real suffering, comparing to the pain of losing my mom to Covid-19. Tears swelled in her eyes.

© 2020, Lorna Ye. All Rights Reserved