I thought she was going to break into tears. She was standing in front of the display of teas in the grocery store. I'd come to see if they had a particular brand of green tea that I like but I couldn't get by her to check. For a tiny, little woman she took up a lot of space. "All I want is some tea," she said to no one.
"Can I help?" I asked.
She turned, startled. I don't think she realized she was speaking out loud. Then seeing me she simply said, "All I want is some tea, they've got so many different kinds, I just want some tea." I understood immediately how she was feeling. I'm not yet 55 but I'm already finding that the world changes too quickly, that there are too many choices, that it's work to keep up. I pointed at a box of Lipton tea on the bottom shelf, "There is a box of regular black tea for you." She glanced down and said, "No, I don't want that kind I want tea bags."
Rounding the corner came a man of about 30, with Down Syndrome saying, "Have you got the tea Grandma?" He was bustling up to her with a smile. "I can't find my tea," she said simply to him. He looked over at me and winked, I could tell this has happened before. He pointed at the same box of tea that I had pointed to and she began to protest. "They've just changed the picture Gran, it's the same tea you always have."
"Thankyou," she said relieved and picked up the tea, "You're a good boy."
"I'm a man, Grandma," he said with a smile in his voice, "you know I don't like being called a boy."
She looked at me and smiled, "And to think I cried when he was borne."