I perused the isles of the supermarket today, trying to decide which meal I felt like the most for lunch, a little boy walking towards me down the empty isle caught my attention. He was quiet and slim wearing a t-shirt tightly on his body. As his mother looked at me frightened and panicked I looked back at the boy with sunken eyes who broke eye contact to look down to the floor, burrowing his neck into his shoulders. Then I realized that his mother was frantically stuffing meat into her bag, looking up at the large mirror attached to the wall, the same kind of mirror I sometimes she on road corners, she was checking no one else could see her. She knew that I, right in front of her, had seen what she was doing – but she was desperate. She didn’t trust me not to say anything and raced out of the supermarket before what had happened even sunk into my brain.
I rushed out of the shop with my groceries, hoping with all of me that I would see her, that I could do something for her, that I could relinquish the terrible feeling I had in my stomach, I wanted a happy ending. But she had run away. Now I can’t stop the tears rolling down my face thinking about this women, she had so much to lose stealing in a shop armed with a security guard ready to ponce, but she was in a war zone, the cost of being caught for stealing was less than the cost of not stealing the food at all. She was so scared, so panicked in that moment, and risking so much for a six pack of sausages.
I don’t have a great conclusion to add to this story, a comforting sentence to give some shred of hope that she will be ok in the war zone she’s in, or even to make whoever is reading this feel better, to comfort you into thinking that there won’t be a mother just like her in your neighborhood, fighting just to feed her child. This is the world we live in. I am writing this on my fancy laptop, surrounded by all my possessions, more than I need, and a mother somewhere down the road for me risks so much just to feed her son. I can’t think of a quick solution to this, I can only think of things I personally can do to help a few people around me, but that won’t really change this situation from happening again. Now that I’ve seen this lady and her son however, I can’t not do anything.