Our last day in London we went to Tesco for a bit of shopping and to have lunch. We sat right at the window and watched as people were streaming in and out of the store. Empty carts going in, laden carts going out. Anxious faces going in. Relieved faces coming out. The season was evident as brightly decorated rolls of Christmas paper peaked out of many baskets. It seemed that they were fighting a losing battle on the side of 'cheer'.
I heard a 'Whoop' that was loud enough to make it through the glass so I turned to see a mom pushing a cart with a little boy in it. He was riding in the cart as if it were some kind of cool skate board. He turned to grin at his mother and I saw that on the left side of his face he had serious scarring, the kind that happens from a severe burn of some kind. He wore his face carelessly in that moment because he grinned up as his mother, urging her to go faster. She grinned back, seeing both sides of his face but only one boy - sometimes parents move me to tears.
She began to run with the cart. There were signs all over the place urging parents not to let their children ride in carts, but these two paid them no mind. She was a trim fit woman, looked like the kind that ran marathons between working out at the gym and morning sit ups. She could really run. The cart hit a stone and veered off and the two of them screamed as she fought to right the cart and he used his body, clearly he was a skateboarder, to assist her in the struggle to get it right.
Disaster averted, the two of them laughed. He turned, impulsively and threw himself in her arms. It was a lovely moment.
But behind me an elderly couple was also watching.
They must have seen something different.
He said to her, 'It looks like he was caught in a fire.'
She said to him, 'That face will never be made normal.'
He said to her, 'Poor woman.'
She said to him, 'She will have to grieve every day for the rest of her life, if he'd have died, she'd probably be over it in a year or two.'
I looked again out the window as they were on their way. Her freshly hugged. Him urging her to run again.
The couple had gone back to their meals. They were busy feeding their bodies. They'd had an opportunity to feed their souls, but turned it down. It was wrong of me, I know, but I openly pitied them.